For a lot of the people I work with (including perhaps your tenants) budgeting in December is particularly difficult for obvious reasons. Put bluntly, not all of customers are good at managing money. There is though, support out there to give advice on budgeting skills and financial issues.
• Better Off Sandwell is a good website which links to benefits, sources of advice and help with finding work.
• Sandwell Welfare Rights team can give active support to people who need help with making their claims or dealing with debt.
We understand that landlords will be concerned about tenants budgeting for their rent over Christmas but please also remember the other priority household expense – Council Tax. Some people will need to take extra care not to get into arrears at this time of year. Arrears can mean extra costs and penalties being added to a bill. It’s really important that anyone on a low income who is responsible to pay Council Tax doesn’t forget about it. It might be getting close to Christmas but we still have to issue Council Tax bills, collect payments and initiate recovery actions where necessary.
We appreciate any help that landlords or advice workers can give in reminding tenants or clients – just how important staying on top of Council Tax is.
So if you are talking to a client or tenant about money – please remind them if you can to not let their Council Tax payments slip. And of course, an important part of all this is making sure we get information we need about any changes promptly so we can issue the right bill at the right time – meaning residents don’t get a nasty surprise of a delayed and therefore bigger than expected bill.