Council tenants owe £3m in rent

More than £3 million is owed to Sandwell Council in rent arrears by 10,000 residents.

Finance bosses today warned there would be action against those who refused to pay.

At the end of June, £3,055,081.85 was owed to the council by 10,905 tenants but council chiefs say arrears have been around the £3 million mark for some time.

Councillor Steve Eling, finance chief at the council, said they have to consider how to go about collecting the money, but issued a warning to those who refuse to pay.

He said: “We understand that some people are struggling with multiple debts and a lot of the time they are in debt with payday lenders who charge astronomical amounts.

“With those people we have to make sure we try to help them so they can manage their debts and prevent them from getting into more debt.

“However, unfortunately, there are some people who just don’t want to pay and we do what we can to get the money back from them.”

He said the amount of money owed to the council was just a small percentage of the money they are paid as landlords.

“You have got to look at it in the right context,” he added. “The total amount of money we get from rent is around £100 million so it is just a small percentage that is outstanding and that is a reasonable figure.

Emergency

“We have not seen the need for draconian measures because of rent arrears. The figure has been static for some time now, so there is no need for us to take emergency action.”

Reforms such as the ‘bedroom tax’ and the introduction of a benefit cap which came into force last year have been blamed for people falling behind on their payments.

Councillor Eling said: “It is probably reasonably good going considering the bedroom tax issue.

“Some councils have seen rent collections reduce in recent years but ours has stayed reasonably static.”

However UKIP Councillor Phil Garrett said while he understands people in the borough may be struggling to pay for their rent, something should be done to help bring the cost down.

He said: “The easiest answer to this in terms of in a thought process would be to lower rent.

“People are struggling and help is needed, but it doesn’t help when the council increase rent by more than the rate of inflation.”

Earlier this year, the cash-strapped council approved an average rise of 3.8 per cent in rent costs across the borough.

Comments for: "Council tenants owe £3m in rent"

sandwell lad

So Labour leader cooper man cuts front line services and makes job cut but can't be bother to collect money that's owed to the council. And if Cllr Eling thinks 3 million is a small percentage well I'm shocked, tell that to the people who have lost jobs due to the council cuts. I do agree with Cllr Garrett why increase rent when they cant pay it now.

charlie.bear.5836

No wonder lots of councils are "cash-strapped" when so many people don't pay their rent. Council tax payers are effectively subsidising these parasites.

Wolfmaster2000

Liquidate ze ghettos mein Fuhrer?

Ivor

Lets get this right

While Coopers lot were illegally refusing council tax reductions for 3600 people in the latest draconian measure, which Coopers lot spent a fortune defending an illegal act

The very same team of enlightened councillors allowed 10,000 people to drum up £3M in debt

Talk about Fred Karnos circus

Mr Cooper RESIGN and go your borough is in a right mess

markie

Council tenants have managed to rack up £3m arrears even with their heavily subsidised rents. They should pay the market rent for the property and be evicted if they don't pat their rent.

My grandmother brought up 3 young children having been widowed twice by WW1. She lived in rented property and took in washing and grew fruit and veg in her large garden and sold the produce and home made jams and preserves at her front door to pay her way. Her first priority was to pay the rent. This was in a time before the welfare state ruined peoples values.

The downside was that I always got knitted socks and gloves for Christmas and birthdays!

charlie17

Why do the people who refuse to pay their rent still have a home. It should be remembered the rents are artificially low for social housing, which means the council tax band is lower than for an equivalent private house so they pay less Council Tax. Finally these people are being subsidised by Council Tax payers many of whom are on low incomes themselves.