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Over £2m rental arrears for council with one case over £18,000 alone

13 May 2024 2 minute read
One council currently has 2,618 tenants in rent arrears.

Bruce SinclairLocal Democracy Reporter

Concerns have been raised that a county council is facing “serious” rental arrears worth more than £2m – with one vulnerable tenant owing more than £18,000.

In a submitted question heard at the May 9 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council Merlin’s Bridge councillor John Cole, said: “In the budget seminars, it was reported that the council has serious rental arrears that are over £2 million.”

In a three-pronged question to Cabinet Member for Housing Operations & Regulatory Services Cllr Michelle Bateman, he asked: “What amount of arrears are attributed to housing benefit not being passed on to the council by tenants?

“What is the highest, lowest and average amount of arrears owed and number of tenants in arrears?

“Would it not be prudent to have a clause in tenancy agreements that tenants agree that housing benefit rents are made directly to the council, thereby negating the arrears occurring in the first instance.”

Housing benefit

Responding at the May meeting, Cllr Bateman said tenants did not receive housing benefit directly, unless transferred to universal credit, adding that, as of March 31, there were 2,618 tenants in arrears, the lowest owing one pence, the average £959.10, and the highest £18,058.16.

Skewed

She told members the highest, which had skewed the average figures, was “a complex case involving a vulnerable individual”.

Members heard that 60 per cent of the rental arrears figures were under £500 owing.


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Catherine Fox
Catherine Fox
13 days ago

Critics of UC predicted this kind of problem when it was first rolled out.

Andrew Lloyd
Andrew Lloyd
13 days ago

How can one tenant even be allowed to run up £18,000 of rent arrears. It sounds very much like an example of a council backing off confronting reckless or criminal behaviour for some politically correct reason. What an appalling neglect of duty.

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