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Success in fight over rent and housing

PUBLISHED: 11:38 19 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:14 05 July 2010

PROJECTS to tackle overdue rent and reduce the number of long-term empty homes in Waveney have been branded a success by the district's housing chiefs.

PROJECTS to tackle overdue rent and reduce the number of long-term empty homes in Waveney have been branded a success by the district's housing chiefs.

New figures released by Waveney District Council show that two key schemes - the Rent Action Team and Homeselect - have increased the amount of rent being collected from council tenants and cut the number of homes sitting empty.

The Rent Action Team was put in place in September 2007 and officers make early evening visits in targeted areas to offer advice and help people struggling with repayments to manage their debts.

Since its introduction, the amount of rent being collected has increased from 77.7pc in 2006-07 to an average of 89.7pc from April to November 2008.

Dave Howson, Waveney's principal services manager, said: “In the weeks leading up to Christmas, our Rent Action Team worked until 8pm phoning people to tell them that they were in arrears and that we wanted payments to be made. We've been trying to take a more proactive approach and trying different things - we also have a new text message alert system for rent arrears which will be coming into place very soon.”

The Homeselect programme, which has been in place for more than 18 months, has helped to fill empty properties and improve hard-to-let accommodation.

Between April and November 2007, council-owned properties were each empty for an average of 92.44 days but during the same period last year, the figure had fallen to 54 days.


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