A fresh start

A fresh start
Two minute read

Our Tenancy Support team and Incomes Officers have helped long-standing customer Phillip to start afresh in his new home.

Phillip had lived at his first two-bedroom family home since he was three years old and eventually succeeded the tenancy from his father in 2010. However, with bedroom tax building, Phillip fell into some money troubles and found himself in rent arrears as he was receiving the incorrect benefits after his temporary job came to an end.

Unaware of the help we could offer, Phillip carried on struggling – he missed payments and court dates, and faced the prospect of losing his home. However, our Incomes team member Romana and Tenancy Support officer Cheryl had been working together on Phillip’s case and felt there was more they could do to help get him back on his feet.

Cheryl said: “Working closely and openly together, we got Phillip’s permission to make contact with members of his family who weren’t aware of the situation he was in. Phillip’s mother then came back to Watford and paid off his rent arrears so he could avoid eviction and have a fresh start.”

With his arrears cleared, the team was then able to support him in reapplying for Universal Credit, setting up direct payments for his rent. Cheryl then supported Phillip in completing a new council tax benefit application and helped apply for a disabled bus pass, as well as low income tariffs for his water and phone services. She also applied for a discretionary housing payment from the council, which Phillip was awarded, to help with his bedroom tax whilst he considered moving home.

Phillip initially wasn’t sure about ‘rightsizing’ – moving to a home that was a more appropriate size for him. He was unsure of his options beyond his family home, but the Tenancy Support team showed him around a property they felt would meet his needs so he could be free to make his own informed choice.

The property was situated in one of our independent living developments not too far from where he had lived previously. The size of the property was much more manageable and Phillip would not have to deal with an unruly garden, as he had at his previous property. With this in mind, he was now ready to make a fresh start in his new home. As part of the rightsizing incentive we offer, his removals were arranged for him, and all outstanding arrears on his rent account were cleared – with a little bit of the incentive left over for him to spend as he wishes in his new home.

Phillip said: “Cheryl and the team have been really helpful in supporting me through this move and helping me receive the right benefits.”

When it came to the big move, support was provided to Phillip to update Universal Credit with his new address and rent details, with the team assisting in informing council tax benefit, and switching over his utilities too. Cheryl then successfully applied for another discretionary housing payment on Phillip’s behalf, for a month’s advance rent for the new property to stop him falling into arrears before he receives his Universal Credit payment.

We are so happy that Phillip could work closely and openly with our Tenancy Support and Incomes teams. The partnership does not stop here and Phillip will remain in touch with our team so we can ensure we are giving Phillip the full support he needs in his home.

Could you use a little help?

If you feel like you could use our support to manage your money better, why not get in touch today with the team on 0800 2182247 and take your first steps towards a fresh start of your own?