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Advice and Guidance

The risk of falling into rent arrears can be reduced by taking account of the following contributory factors.

Housing Benefit claims – has the form been completed and returned?  If not this will mean that you miss out on housing benefit, leaving you liable to pay full weekly rent.  Substantial arrears can quickly build-up over a relatively short period of time. 
reduce the risk: make sure that you fully complete and return any housing benefit application or review form as soon as possible. The longer you leave it the more likely it is that you will start to build up rent arrears. If you are ever unsure or want advice about housing benefit then call the helpline on 01242 264341.

Household changes – have you had children or a relationship breakdown?  Households that have or are experiencing changes, such as an increase in the number of dependants or a relationship breakdown can be faced with a number of practical and personal issues.
reduce the risk: by contacting your Housing Revenues Officer to immediately inform them of any difficulties that you are experiencing; the officer will listen to you and will be able to give helpful advice. You can also contact a local independent advice agency.

Employment status – are you newly unemployed or have lost some income from a job?  People who have become recently unemployed can suffer a marked drop in income and will have to investigate new spending budgets and benefit entitlements. This problem can be made even more complex if the main earner in the household is in casual employment and is in and out of work.
reduce the risk: make sure that you apply for housing benefit straight away. Housing benefit is a scheme to help people who are on a low income, or receiving income support/job seeker’s allowance, to pay their rent to the council. The amount of benefit you can get depends on a number of factors. For more information about Housing Benefits call their helpline on 01242 264341

Other financial commitments – do you have competing bills to pay or have you received a large bill? Competing bills can place considerable financial strain on households with low incomes. A large bill can upset the delicate balance between income and outgoings. Some tenants may borrow money to pay for other bills and debts which can lead to even more problems.
reduce the risk: contact your local advice agency if you are struggling to cope with your finances and any debts. Local advice agencies will provide tenants with free independent debt counselling to assist them with their financial problems

Poor health – are you sufferring sickness or ill health?
Sickness or ill health can be a major cause of financial and personal issues that can lead to income being adversely affected.
reduce the risk: in the first instance contact your local Housing Revenues Officer to immediately inform them of any difficulties that you are experiencing. If your income has been affected then you may be entitled to assistance towards your rent by Housing Benefit

These factors may affect the income and outgoings in your home. If any of these issues relate to you, please contact your Housing Revenue Officer, who will be able to advise you on your next steps and offer information, support and advice.

Links to other organisations who may be able to help you:

Cheltenham Borough Council – Benefits
Benefit Service, Cheltenham Borough Council, PO Box 10, Municipal Offices, Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1PW
Telephone : 01242 264 341

for details of other benefits you may be entitled to, visit

CountyCommunity Projects (CCP)
Cheltenham 1st Stop, 301 – 305 High Street, CheltenhamGL50 3HW
Telephone : 01242 228 999

Gloucestershire Money Advice Service
Telephone : 01242 224 859