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Former tenant arrears

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What are former tenant arrears?

If you are no longer a council tenant and have left your property owing money on your rent account, this is known as ‘former tenant arrears’.

How can I make sure I have no arrears when I end a tenancy?

When you make a decision to leave the property you must give four weeks' notice in writing,(see ending a tenancy). If you leave before this time you will be charged rent for the whole four week notice period.

If you claim housing benefit you need to tell the Benefits Department the date on which you intend to leave the property.

If you leave the property before the end of the four week notice period, you will only receive your benefit up to the date you move out. You will therefore be expected to pay the difference up to the end of the tenancy.

Please make sure you hand in your keys to the Housing Department before midday on the Monday your tenancy is due to end. If the keys are not received by this time you will be charged the weekly rent until the keys are returned. This means that if you hand in your keys on the next day, i.e. the Tuesday, you will be charged a full weeks’ rent, not an extra day’s.

When you terminate your tenancy you should ensure that any rent payments that are due up to the end of your tenancy are paid. Your Neighbourhood Housing Manager will be able to advise you how much you should pay.

It is the council’s policy to pursue any unpaid arrears including former tenant arrears where ever possible. If you have difficulty making any payments you should contact us without delay.

What happens if a family member dies?

You are required to advise us of the death of the tenant and to give 28 days' notice.

A termination form will be sent to you for completion and should be returned with a copy of the death certificate.

Housing Benefit will end on the date of the tenant’s death. Rent and other service charges will continue to be charged for the property until the keys are returned on the Monday that the tenancy terminates. If the keys are not returned on the due date then the rent and charges will still require paying until they are returned.

What happens if my former tenant account is in credit?

If you have given us your new address we will refund the money to you by cheque.

If the tenant has died we will refund the money to their representative by cheque.

What action can we take to recover former tenant arrears?

If you leave your tenancy with former tenant arrears and do not give us your new address, we will use a tracing agency to find you.

We will contact you and give you the opportunity to make an arrangement to clear the arrears on your account. If you do not pay these arrears we may take court action to recover the debt. This will incur legal costs.

Can I apply for another council tenancy if I have former tenant arrears?

Any debts you have after ending a tenancy could prevent you being offered a property in the future.

Details of your arrears will be provided in any reference we provide regarding your tenancy, and could have a negative effect on your credit rating.

For further information please see our PDFHousing - former tenant arrears policy former tenant arrears policy 14kb

Advice centres:

Centre Location Contact Further information
Salisbury and District Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) 18 College Street, Salisbury SP1 3AL Telephone 01722 327222 For details of CAB services in Amesbury, Mere and Tisbury please contact the Salisbury Bureau.
Age Concern (if you are elderly) 21 Brown Street, Salisbury Telephone 01722 335425.  
Community 4 4 Castle Lane, Wilton, Salisbury, SP2 0HG.

Telephone 01722 742191 or
Fax: (01722) 743290.

National Debt Helpline   Freephone 0808 808 4000  
Consumer Credit Counselling Service   Freephone 0800 1381111  

Contact Details (LiveLink)

Multiple Contacts:
Telephone: 01722 434773
Out of hours:
Postal Address:

Housing Management
Department of Community Services
P.O. Box 2281
Wiltshire Council
SP2 2HX.

In Person: Wiltshire Council
27-29 Milford Street

Related information

Last updated: 1 March 2012



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Department of Community Services
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Wiltshire Council
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