Rent & money

Rent & money

Here you will find information about paying rents, benefits advice, financial assistance, welfare reform and Universal Credit.

Rent & money

Homes for Northumberland realises that managing money can be difficult, especially in these times. We have developed the links below especially for our tenants to help you with your tenancy and improve your quality of life.

We aim to offer tenants cost effective and convenient payment methods, as well as providing help and support for those in difficulties. We will also offer advice to tenants who are unsure of what benefits they are entitled to.

  • If you require advice on how to pay your rent, please read Guide to paying your rent.
  • If you require some practical advice and support due to rent arrears, it is extremely important that you click here.
  • If you are requiring advice on what you may be able to claim or housing/council tax benefits advice, please click here.

Pay your housing rent

Northumberland County Council Rent Setting Policy

This Rent Setting policy applies to the supported and general needs tenants of all Northumberland County Council housing. It covers social and affordable rents across the social housing tenures that the Council operates. To read the policy please click here
 

Benefits & money advice

Under occupation

Under occupation is when you have more bedrooms than the government says you need in your home.

From April 2013, the government reduced the amount of housing benefit paid to people of working age with spare bedrooms in their home.

Homes for Northumberland has been contacting tenants who may be affected by this.

If you think you may be affected, please get in touch on 01670 542424.

Money advice
If you would like to speak with someone about your benefits, money or get debt advice, you can contact any of the following for support:

Homes for Northumberland – money advisor

We have two money advisors who can meet with you to ensure you are claiming all of the benefits you are entitled to. They offer independent, impartial and confidential debt advice. HfN also has a dedicated housing and welfare benefit advisor. For further information, speak with your housing officer on 01670 542424.

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

CAB can provide independent advice on many issues, including benefits. You can contact Northumberland Citizens Advice Bureau by calling 03444 111 444 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

Age UK Northumberland Advice Line

Call 08450 950150 between Monday and Thursday (10am – 1pm) for free, confidential and impartial advice for over 50s, their families and carers. This includes advice on welfare benefits, community and residential care, care plans and personalisation, housing, home adaptations, disability issues, money advice, local leisure and health.

Stepchange 

It can be tempting to put off dealing with problem debts – but delaying action will only make the problem worse. StepChange can help you to tackle your debts by providing expert, impartial advice that you need, free of charge. Debt advice can be found online at Stepchange, or by try their Debt Remedy for a personalised assessment of your situation.
Loan sharks
Loan sharks operate illegally. If you are a victim or know of someone who is, call Stop Loan Sharks in confidence on 0300 555 2222. You can also report illegal money lending at www.stoploansharks.co.uk 
Smarterbuys
Homes for Northumberland is supporting a new discount deal website that offers customers the chance to buy essential household goods at significantly reduced prices.

Smarterbuys offers a new deal every month, from washing machines to sofas.

Initially, one national deal a month will go live on the site (the first one is for beds and mattresses), although the intention is to provide more offers, including local deals, as momentum grows.

The discounted prices on Smarterbuys – often over 50 percent off the recommended retail price (RRP) – are achieved on the basis of the potential volume of purchases through the site.

The site allows users to pay online or offline, by printing out a barcode and taking it to a PayPoint or post office.

Free financial assistance

There are many services institutions which offer free advice and assistant with money concerns. Here we have listed some which we recommend.

Money health check
Homes for Northumberland is working with the Citizens Advice Bureau’s money active service to offer our customers a free money health check.

An adviser can help you to:
  • look at ways of managing your money
  • find a better deal on your gas and electric
  • get advice on benefits
  • get advice on affordable credit options and banking
  • advice on dealing with debt
If you are interested, please ring us on 01670 542424 and speak to your neighbourhood liaison officer.
Want to carry out your own money health check online?
The Money Advice Service is a free, unbiased, independent service providing clear information on a wide range of financial topics. It allows you to carry out your own money health check.
Want to get a better energy deal?
The National Housing Federation in partnership with Billscutter is offering a free impartial service to tenants of social landlords called My Home Energy Switch, which allows you to get the best price for your gas and electricity.

How does it work?
All you have to do is call the freephone number 0800 001 4706 or visit www.myhomeenergyswitch.org.uk to get started.

They do the comparison and take care of all the paperwork for you. All you need is your most recent energy bill.

Welfare reform

The government is making changes to benefits through the Welfare Reform Act which could affect you.

Be money wise logoBe Moneywise is Homes for Northumberland’s welfare reform campaign, which is designed to keep you up to date with welfare changes as they happen.

Whenever you see this logo we will be giving you important information about proposed changes to your benefits. Please look out for this logo in the coming months.

How could welfare reform affect my benefits?
This outlines some of the proposed benefit changes by the government.
Under occupation
Social fund
Community care grants and crisis loans (previously provided by the Department for Work and Pensions) have been replaced by local provision from the local authority.

In Northumberland the scheme is called Northumberland Emergency Transition Support or Nets
Support is likely to be in the form of goods or vouchers. Cash payments will only be made in exceptional circumstances.
  • To find out if you may be entitled to help from Nets, ring the freephone number 0300 303 1931.
Budgeting loans will continue to be awarded and assessed by the DWP.
Personal independence payment (PIP)

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new government means tested benefit that provides help to working age people who do not have enough money to live on. It is gradually being introduced across the country and will not affect everybody straight away.

Who will it affect?
From February 26, Universal Credit will start to be rolled out in Northumberland but it will only affect single people, of working age who do not have children and are making what would have been a new claim for jobseekers' allowance.

If you're already claiming benefits, you don't need to do anything. You will be advised when any changes will affect you.

Universal Credit will replace:

  • income Support
  • income-based jobseekers' allowance
  • income-related employment and support allowance
  • housing benefit
  • working tax credit
  • child tax credit
The benefit will be paid to households, rather than individuals in one monthly payment straight into a bank, building society, credit union or post office account.
 
What does this mean for paying rent?
If you are entitled to help towards your rent, this money will now be included in your Universal Credit payment and paid directly to you. You will need to make a separate claim for help towards your council tax.
 
This means that you will be responsible for paying your rent and making sure that you don’t fall into arrears.
 
How to claim for Universal Credit
The main difference with Universal Credit is that the vast majority of people will have to make their claims and manage any changes to their application online.
 
Alternative arrangements may be considered for individuals unable to use an online account, but this will only be in exceptional cases. There is no paper claim form available.
 
Need help?
If you require help to complete your online application or with managing your budget you can get support at  your Jobcentre Plus office.
 
You can also contact:

Universal Credit helpline
0345 600 0723
www.gov.uk/universal-credit
 
Northumberland County Council customer services
0345 600 6400 
 
PLEASE REMEMEBER AT THE MOMENT THE CHANGE ONLY APPLIES TO NEW CLAIMANTS WHO ARE SINGLE AND HAVE NO CHILDREN.