Highland Tenant Rent Arrears Below National Average
11th August 2023
Housing and Property Committee met yesterday (Thursday 10 August 2023) and discussed the impact that the ‘cost of living' has had on tenants experiencing rent arrears. Despite the challenges, Highland rent arrears remains significantly better than national benchmarking averages. As a percentage of rent due, 7.05% in Highland compared with the local authority average of 8.21% for 2021/22, with early indications that many local authorities will exceed this level for 2022/23.
Most tenants remain willing to responsibly manage their rent accounts, and Officers continue to be supportive and sympathetic to all tenants facing financial hardship at this time and continue to signpost tenants to partner services who can provide specialist advice relating to income maximisation and benefits uptake.
Housing and Property Committee Chair, Cllr Glynis Campbell Sinclair said: "The Highland Council Housing Service/Officers work closely with the Welfare Support Team to ensure early intervention and to inform tenants of rent arrears as soon as they arise.
"Due to the ‘Cost of Living Crisis' many tenants are finding themselves in rent arrears for the very first time and require early intervention to guide them through the process and to provide appropriate welfare support to each individual."
Cllr Campbell Sinclair added: "Local Housing Officers carry out a crucial role and ongoing training to ensure they can assist tenants with up to date information and can refer people to existing and new grant funding, direct tenants to support agencies available that can help ensure they are receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled and can assist with debt and personal budgeting issues.
"We encourage anyone experiencing financial difficulty and/or rent arrears to get in touch with your Local Housing Officer and/or Welfare Support."
Cllr Campbell Sinclair added: "Tenant eviction figures for Highland Council properties are one of the lowest in Scotland and this is testament to the early intervention, support mechanisms and engagement by the Local Housing Officers and their effective partnership working.
"If you or anyone you know are struggling to keep up with Council tenant rent payments, please make contact with your Local Housing Officer or contact the Welfare Support Team."
Anyone worrying about money should know that support is available, help and advice across Highland can be found in the ‘worrying about money' guidance available at https://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/file/23081/worrying_about_money_english
Benefit and welfare guidance is available on the Council website via the links below:
welfare support https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/335/community_advice/405/welfare_support/2
benefit advice https://www.highland.gov.uk/directory_record/102970/benefit_advice
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