Looking after your financial wellbeing

Maximising your income

We have a specialist Financial Inclusion Team who can help and support you to maximise your income and help you to claim your full benefit entitlement. The team will assist individuals with completing welfare benefit forms, including Universal Credit.

Last year the team received 311 referrals from tenants who needed help and support with benefit advice and their finances. This work helped generate £463,382 of benefit income for over 251 individuals.

The prevention and management of rent arrears continues to be a priority for us. Evidence suggests that early intervention is the most effective way to help customers sustain their tenancy and ensure that rental debt is given a high priority.

To help manage the impact of welfare reform, we work in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions and we have ‘Preferred Landlord Status’ which enables us to work closely with our tenants in Chorley, South Ribble and Fylde to assist them with their Universal Credit applications.

Since 2012 benefit reductions were applied to those under occupying their homes. In total we have worked with 1,398 households who have been affected. We have assisted 243 tenants to downsize their property. In total the number of tenants under occupying has decreased to 354 as at 31 March 2019.

Rents and service charges

The way that we set our rents is closely regulated by the Government and we follow strict guidelines.

In addition to rent we also charge for services that we provide that are not covered by your rent but are included in your tenancy agreement, these are called ‘service charges’. This can include things like grounds maintenance and window cleaning.

Each year we calculate how much it costs us to provide these services. It is important for us to keep these costs under control because any increase in cost directly affects the amount we charge.

This year:

  • General needs service charges reduced on average by 4.19%
  • Independent living service charges increased by an average of 7.35%
  • Supported living service charges reduced by an average of 2.79%.

Collecting rent

In order to continue delivering our services we need to collect rent in a timely manner because it is your rent that funds the services we provide.

Our Income Collection Team oversees any outstanding rent due from customers and work closely with those in arrears to devise a manageable payment plan, helping them to sustain their tenancy. We will only consider eviction as a last resort and work in partnership to support customers to take control of their finances and maximise their income through employment, budgeting and welfare benefits support.

We met our performance target for current tenant arrears last year, and evicted 27 tenants for non-payment of rent and ASB issues, this is a reduction from the previous year where we evicted 30 tenants.

99.9% of rent was collected.

85.5% of tenants were satisfied that their rent offers value for money.

Average weekly rents

For general needs 1 bed - £73.41

For general needs 2 bed - £85.15

For general needs 3 bed - £94.89

For independent living - £80.36

For supported living - £177.29

*All figures exclude service charges

Critical tenancy support service

Continuing for a second year, Key Unlocking Futures, in partnership with Progress Housing Group, supported 129 tenants to maintain their tenancy and avoid losing their home. Two support workers deliver the critical tenancy support service which is available to those tenants of Progress Housing Group who are in imminent danger of losing their tenancy due to rent arrears or anti-social behaviour issues.