It is your responsibility to pay the rent weekly in advance in accordance with your conditions of tenancy. If you have a joint tenancy, both parties are equally responsible.
How to pay
Payments will be collected on the 1st, 8th, 15th, 21st or 28th of each month. Download the housing direct debit mandate, complete the form and sent it to the address at the top of it.
Using the 24 hour automatic payment line on 0300 456 0119.
You can pay your rent at any Post Office. To do so you must have your payment card with you - payment cannot be accepted without it.
To make a payment, give your card along with your cash or cheque to the cashier and tell them how much you wish to pay.
Cheques should be made payable to 'Wiltshire Council'.
You will be given a receipt for all payments. Please keep receipts for future reference.
As it takes a few days for the council to receive the money from the Post Office, you are encouraged to pay your rent in advance.
We will no longer issue new rent payment cards to our tenants. They will continue to be accepted for payments at the Post Office and Payzone Outlets.
Cheques should be made payable to Wiltshire Council and sent to the Housing Management Income Team. Quote your reference number, and name and address on the back, or enclose your rent swipe card. You will be sent a receipt immediately.
You can use your rent swipe card in the reception at The Council House, Bourne Hill, Salisbury between 9am and 5pm on Mondays to Fridays. Please note that this service cannot accept cash payments after 4pm.
We will need your name, address and rent reference number: this can be found on your rent swipe card or your rent account statement.
You should have a personalised plastic rent payment swipe card or a barcoded payment card to pay your rent. We issue a barcoded payment card to all new rent accounts.
The card can only be used for rent payments. If you also have a garage, you should have a separate card.
It is not a credit card and cannot be used for any payment other than rent.
- The swipe card or barcoded payment card can be used at any council payments office, Post Office or selected Payzone® outlets, your nearest Payzone® outlet can be found by clicking on the following online store locator Payzone outlets.
- Your weekly rent payment is shown on the covering letter of your payment card, along with your neighbourhood officer's contact details.
- If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit and the amount of benefit you receive changes you will be notified by the Housing Benefit Department of the change in benefit, and shortly afterwards by the Housing Department about how much you need to pay.
As the Post Office cannot provide you with a balance of your rent account you will be sent a statement of your rent account quarterly. If you wish to know the balance of your rent any other time please contact the income team.
We no longer issue new rent payment cards, but they will continue to be accepted for payment at Post Offices or Payzone Outlets.
If you lose your card you must notify us immediately so that a replacement card can be sent to you. If you need to do this or have any other queries concerning your rent payment card, please contact the housing management income team.
If you live in a council property and want to check your rent balance or have a question about your rent account you should telephone the income team between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.
You will need:
- Name and address
- Account number
For the flexibility to manage your account at any time of the day we offer an automated text and email service as well as access to a secure online tenants' portal called iHousing.
You can also write to us or drop in at the council office reception.
Wiltshire council housing offers an automated account balance service for tenants using SMS text and email messages. You do not need to be registered for iHousing to use these services, all we need is you current mobile telephone number and/or email address.
Whenever you want to know your account balance and the latest transactions all you have to do is text or email us and we'll send you the information within minutes.
Text the word 'account' to 07860 035349 or email email@example.com with the word 'account' in the subject field.
To register a mobile number or email address, or to update the details we already hold for you, please call us on 01722 434773.
The iHousing portal is a secure website that allows you to view your rent account, make online payments, request repairs and monitor the progress of them
To register for iHousing please complete the registration form or call us on 0300 456 0117 - option 4. As iHousing is a secure service we may need to verify your identity before your personal login is sent to you.
Login to the i-housing online portal.
Trouble paying your rent?
If you are having difficulty paying your rent, don't ignore it and do nothing! There are many ways to get help you even if you have multiple debts.
If you are having difficulties paying your rent contact the rent and account enquiries team as soon as possible so that we can offer advice. Other organisations who offer free advice may also be of help to you.
If you are a Wiltshire Council tenant and in need of advice and assistance we have a dedicated team of tenancy sustainment officers who can help with:
- managing finances and your tenancy
- debt or money difficulties
- budgeting / income maximisation
- welfare benefit advice
They hold drop in sessions at both the Bemerton Heath and Friary estate offices every Wednesday from 9am - 12pm.
Tel: 0300 456 0117 (option 1)
Since the introduction of the Welfare Reform Act in 2012 there have been many changes to the benefits that you many be entitled to. More details can be found on our benefits pages.
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'.
When you make a decision to leave the property you must give four weeks' notice in writing, 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 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.
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 week's 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 officer 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We believe social tenants should get recognition for paying their rent on time, the same way people who pay their mortgage do. We've teamed up with Big Issue Invest, part of the well-known Big Issue Group of companies, and Experian the UK's biggest credit reference agency, to bring our tenants an exciting new scheme, the Rental Exchange.
Tenants renting social housing sometimes find it difficult to get affordable loans, a mortgage or credit cards or to open bank accounts. Often this is because they do not have a credit history. If you want to buy something on credit, then it helps if you have a good credit history (a track record of paying off credit agreements). Companies use credit history to assess your creditworthiness before making a lending decision.
- Create an online proof of identity - increasingly important when applying for goods or services
- Build a positive credit history to help increase access to mainstream credit
A higher credit score means it may become easier to:
- Open or change bank accounts
- Shop online
- Receive better mobile phone rates
- Receive better gas and electricity rates
- assess and manage any new tenancy agreements you may enter into
- assess your financial standing to provide you with suitable products and services
- manage any accounts that you may already hold, for example reviewing suitable products or adjusting your product in light of your current circumstances
- contact you in relation to any accounts you may have and recovering debts that you may owe
- verifying your identity, age and address, to help other organisations make decisions about the services they offer
- help to prevent crime, fraud and money laundering
- screen marketing offers to make sure they are appropriate to your circumstances
- for Experian to undertake statistical analysis, analytics and profiling,
- and for Experian to conduct system and product testing and database processing activities, such as data loading, data matching and data linkage.
If you would like to see more information on these, and to understand how the credit reference agencies each use and share rental data as bureau data (including the legitimate interests each pursues) this information is provided in this link: Credit Reference Agency Information Notice (CRAIN). (For a paper copy, please get in touch with us or with Experian using the contact details in this letter).
What do I need to do?
You don't need to do anything to join the scheme as all new tenants will automatically be entered in to the scheme following completion of a privacy consent form. If you do not wish for your rent payment history to be shared with Experian, you can opt out of the scheme by indicating on the form at sign up. You are also able to opt out at any time in the future by just contacting us. We will share your tenancy information with Experian, including your track record for paying your rent and service charges to us, unless you tell us not to.
We will share your rent account details with Experian and your payment history will be added to your credit file in a secure and compliant way. We, and Experian, will ensure that your information is treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act so you can have peace of mind that it will be kept secure and confidential and your information will not be used for marketing purposes.
When an application you make requires a credit or identity check you will have the best chance of your rent history being available to improve your credit score, and increase the chance of approval.
I receive Housing Benefit, will this adversely affect my credit score?
If you pay your rent by Housing Benefit (in full) your credit rating will not be affected, positively or negatively. Please remember though that payment of your rent is your responsibility, so if you begin to receive your benefits directly under Universal Credit or stop receiving full housing benefit in the future, you will need to make your rent payments directly to us. From that time onwards, you will automatically start to be included in this scheme having received this notice.
We understand that in some circumstances there may be situations where you have fallen behind with your rent payments and where this is the case we will work with you to provide advice and support to help you get back on track. Paying your rent on time will help you to build up a better credit history, which will make it easier for you to apply for cheaper products, services or bank accounts in the future.
If you would like more information about the scheme please visit the Experian Rental Exchange Website or download a copy of the Rental Exchange Tenant Leaflet from the download section.
To opt out of the scheme, or for any queries about your rent account, contact the Income Team on 0300 456 0117 - option 1 - or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How rent and service charges are calculated
We will always give you at least 4 weeks written notice of any changes to your rent and at least 7 days for service charges.
In May 2014 the Government issued the final policy on rents for social housing from 2015/16 and the regulator published their consultation on changes to the regulatory framework. This has subsequently be replaced by the latest government budget in July 2015, which announced a cut in social housing rents by 1% each year for the next four years from April 2016 in a move the government says will help reduce the country's housing benefit bill.
The government said the change will mean a 12% in average rents by 2020/21.
The pre-budget rent guidance was for a 10 year rent policy, which would increase social rents by Consumer Price Index (CPI) + 1% each year, compared to the current policy of Retail Price Index (RPI) + 0.5%, from April 2015.
Other budget announcements confirmed that social housing tenants with household incomes of £40,000 and above in London, and £30,000 and above in the rest of England, will be required to pay a market or 'near market rent' for their accommodation. The council is currently waiting for details on how this change will be applied.
Service charges are currently made to sheltered housing tenants and leaseholders. The inflationary increase applied in April 2015 was 2.2%. Garage rents were also increased by 2.2%.