Housing rent income
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to note the latest financial position for rent arrears in 2020-21 when it meets on Tuesday, 13 July.
The outturn for 2020/21 resulted in rent arrears of £1.854m compared to £1.815m in the previous year – an increase in arrears of £39k. The data generally makes for positive reading especially when contrasted against earlier predictions for rent arrears for the service throughout the last twelve months, particularly at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on the ability of some tenants to pay their rent on time.
Most tenants have maintained their rent payments, but the pandemic has inevitably also impacted on the ability of some tenants to pay their rent on time and their arrears have increased, despite everything the Council has tried to do to support these tenants.
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Dave Hughes, said:
“The rent income service has worked incredibly hard. The 2020/21 financial year has been one of the most challenging for the service in the same way as it has for other social landlords who have been responsible for supporting tenants during the pandemic.
“Rent arrears have largely stabilised since the introduction of Universal Credit but are at a higher level that they have been historically; further risks remain due to the pandemic - namely the ending of the furlough scheme and the uncertainty around the temporary Universal Credit uplift and the temporary suspension of evictions.”
The introduction of the Breathing Space scheme from May 2021 is generally a welcome step as this will provide tenants in debt with a 60 day period of legal protections from their creditors, including what tenants owe in housing rent. These measures though may impact negatively in the short term as debt advice agencies work with tenants to agree affordable repayments of debts.