Be aware: Rental fraud

Rental fraud is where someone pretending to be a landlord or agent tricks a potential renter into paying a deposit or other upfront fee by for a property that they don’t have the right to let out. The property might not exist, or it might already be someone else’s home. The fraudster may even take money from multiple people for the same property.

Tips to avoid scammers.

  • Don’t send money to anyone advertising property unless you are sure they are genuine. Landlords in Scotland are required to register with the Local Authority in which they are letting out a property and must include their landlord registration number in their adverts. You can check the landlord registration database.
  • Try to visit the property with the Landlord or agent prior to paying any money, if you can’t do this yourself ask a friend, relative or reliable local to go on your behalf.
  • Make sure you get a copy of the tenancy agreement and any relevant safety certificates.
  • If you are being asked for a deposit this cannot be more than 2 months’ rent by law in Scotland. Rent in advance payments cannot be for more than 6 months.
  • If you are sending money by bank transfer, ask for the details directly from the person you have been communicating with. Most banks now offer a confirmation of payee service where they will check the name you have been given against the name attached to an account number and sort code. If this information is incorrect, double check with the landlord as it may be an indication you are being scammed.
  • Do not feel pressure to transfer large sums of money. Be extra cautious if you are asked to use a money transfer service like Western Union.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of Rental Fraud report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or Police Scotland on 101.

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Tenant Hardship Fund still available

Have you accumulated rent arrears because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Tenant Hardship Fund could clear some of the arrears. We are delighted to be able to announce that despite previously advertising that the fund would close at the end of March, we are now able to continue accepting applications.

You may be able to get limited financial help if you’re a social or private sector tenant in Angus who built up rent arrears between March 2020 and August 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You will need to apply for help and provide evidence that the pandemic affected your ability to pay rent.

How to apply?

Tenants who live in Angus can apply online.

As part of your application, you will need to provide details about:

  • your tenancy
  • your rent arrears
  • why the pandemic affected your ability to pay rent

You will also be asked to provide evidence of your income during the period. For example:

  • evidence of your income from employment (wageslips; a reduction in your income, such as furlough or reduced hours)
  • evidence of other income during the period (such as whether you were claiming benefits)
  • bank statements

Funding is limited and applicants must provide full evidence of their arrears and why the pandemic affected their ability to pay their rent.

To apply for funding, please use our online application form.

Tenant Hardship Fund will close on 31 March 2022

Have you had rent arrears as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Tenant Hardship Fund could clear some of the arrears. The fund will close on 31 March 2022 – apply now so you don’t miss out.

You may be able to get limited financial help if you’re a social or private sector tenant in Angus who built up rent arrears between March 2020 and August 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You will need to apply for help and provide evidence that the pandemic affected your ability to pay rent.

How to apply

Tenants who live in Angus can apply online.

As part of your application, you will need to provide details about:

  • your tenancy
  • your rent arrears
  • why the pandemic affected your ability to pay rent

You will also be asked to provide evidence of your income during the period. For example:

  • evidence of your income from employment (wageslips; a reduction in your income, such as furlough or reduced hours)
  • evidence of other income during the period (such as whether you were claiming benefits)
  • bank statements

Funding is limited and applicants must provide full evidence of their arrears and why the pandemic affected their ability to pay their rent.

To apply for funding, please use our online application form.

Tenant Hardship Fund: COVID-19 related rent arrears

You may be able to get limited financial help if you’re a social or private sector tenant in Angus who built up rent arrears between March 2020 and August 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You will need to apply for the help and provide evidence that the pandemic affected your ability to pay rent.

How to apply

Tenants who live in Angus can apply online.

As part of your application you will need to provide details about:

  • your tenancy
  • your rent arrears
  • why the pandemic affected your ability to pay rent

You will also be asked to provide evidence of your income during the period. For example:

  • evidence of your income from employment (wageslips; a reduction in your income, such as furlough or reduced hours)
  • evidence of other income during the period (such as whether you were claiming benefits)
  • bank statements

Funding is limited and applicants must provide full evidence outlining their arrears and why the pandemic affected their ability to pay their rent.

To apply for funding, please use our online application form.

More one-bedroom homes for Arbroath

Building is underway at our new housing development in Mayfield Terrace, Arbroath,which will have 14 one-bedroom flats for affordable rent.

The new flats will help to meet rising demand for one bedroom properties in Arbroath and Angus and forms the missing piece of the jigsaw in Arbroath’s Cliffburn area which has undergone comprehensive regeneration in recent years.

Seven brand new ground floor properties will provide specialist housing for older or disabled residents. This will help to deliver on our Local Housing Strategy commitment of 20% of new-build affordable housing for households with particular needs.

Our Convener of Communities, Cllr Mark Salmond said: “I am delighted that we are building these much-needed flats in Arbroath. They represent the culmination of widescale improvements delivered by the Council to revitalise the Cliffburn area.

“I’m especially pleased that half of these sought after flats will be suitable for people with particular needs. The demand for one-bedroom affordable homes continues to grow, so it is important that we make suitable provision for people who not only need smaller properties, but who may also have mobility challenges.”

The £2m development is funded by our Housing Revenue Account with a contribution from the Scottish Government through their Affordable Housing Supply Programme.

CHAP Construction is building our new flats, with anticipated completion by the end of 2021.

Projected Aerial views:

Rent Increase. Have your say!*

Are you an Angus Council tenant?

If so, we need your views on the proposed rent increase for 2021/22 and options on how your rent money will be spent.

All three options would keep your rent amongst the lowest in Scotland.

Why are we proposing to increase the rent?

We need to make sure the money we receive from rent is enough to pay for existing services, including repairs, but also to pay for larger improvements needed for tenants’ homes and to help build new homes.

Rent increases allow us to invest in our homes to continue to meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard. Rent increases will also allow us to meet the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing.

The rent rise is partly based on the inflation measure of CPI (Consumer Price Index), and in recent years an additional set percentage of 1% had been agreed between us and the Tenant Rent Setting Group. CPI+1% is the minimum rent increase required to allow us to deliver our current plans and manage inflationary rises. We need to increase the rent at least by inflation because that’s what it costs us to deliver existing services. However, following feedback received last year we have considered some alternative options with input from the Tenant Rent Setting Group.

How we decide on the Increase

We’re carrying out a consultation to help tenants consider the rent increase options and clearly see how the rent money will be spent.

The results of this survey will be presented at the Communities Committee in February 2021, where the final decision on a rent increase for 2021/22 will be made.

Rent Increase – the options

The Tenant Rent Setting Group has agreed three options which the members feel will bring benefits to tenants while keeping rents affordable.

The three options are:

 

Option 1

Option 2 – Recommended by the Rent Setting Group

Option 3

Rent Level

1.75%

2%

2.25%

Capital spend (this is money invested to buy or upgrade fixed, physical, non-consumable assets, such as buildings and equipment) Additional borrowing of an estimated £823,000 to maintain capital spend (cumulative position for 4 year period 2021/22 – 2024/25) £18 million capital spend over the year Reduced borrowing of an estimated £824,000 to maintain capital spend (cumulative position for 4 year period 2021/22 – 2024/25) which could be used to fund additional stock improvements
How many new builds? Potential reduction in new build homes 70 new homes over the year 70 new homes – any additional funds will be used to improve existing stock
What stock improvements can tenants expect? Potential reductions in stock improvements, which could mean delays to completion of the ongoing bathroom replacement programme

450 Gas & Electric Heating installations;

600 properties receiving external wall insulation & energy efficiency measures;

700 bathrooms.

In addition to planned improvements listed in Option 2, for example:

40 Gas Heating installations (including loft insulation);

40 Electric Heating installations (including loft insulation);

34 External Wall Insulations;

33 Window & Door Replacements

The tenant representatives recommend that tenants choose Option 2 which would mean a rent rise of 2%. This option is the minimum rise needed to deliver the current Business Plan without additional borrowing. It, along with Scottish Government grant funding, would enable us to build 70 new homes in 2020-21, as well as these improvements to existing stock: 450 Gas & Electric Heating installations, 600 properties receiving external wall insulation & energy efficiency measures, 700 bathrooms.

The graph below shows the average weekly rents of Angus Council over the past five years compared to other neighbouring local authorities (figures from the Scottish Housing Regulator). Unfortunately, the updated figures for 2019-20 are not yet available.


Angus Council average weekly rents


How the rent increase options would affect average Angus Council weekly rents


To have your say on the rent options,

please complete the survey online by 6 November 2020*.

*Please note this consultation is open to current Angus Council tenants only

Get Involved in Rent Setting!

We asked tenants in a recent survey:

Would you like to know more about how we spend your rent money?

Would you like to influence how rent levels are spent?

We had a huge response so we are holding our rent setting meeting online this year and our tenants are invited…

The meeting will be friendly and informal and will take place on:

Monday 12th October

at 6:00pm

Tenants can join in by asking questions or can remain quiet and simply type in questions and comments if they prefer, whatever suits.

To find out more and book a place please contact:

bonij@angus.gov.uk

Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Help for Private Renters with Our New Rent Deposit Scheme

Our new Rent Deposit Scheme is to help people on low incomes in housing need get accommodation in the private rented sector. If you urgently need housing, but don’t have the money for a deposit for a private rental property, we can help.

If you meet our conditions, we can pay the deposit to the landlord on your behalf. You agree to a savings plan to repay the money to us.

Anyone in work or receiving benefits can apply. To make sure you are able to repay us, we will carry out checks, including the affordability of the property, and check on your tenancy history including any rent arrears.

Landlords must be registered with us and transfer the deposit to one of the National Deposit Schemes. Do not sign a tenancy agreement or move into the property before we confirm you can take part in the scheme.

rent Deposit Scheme 1

For further information about the scheme, check out our website.

Support and financial advice during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Anyone who is experiencing financial difficulties, concerns or questions about their circumstances should seek out the right information and support as soon as they can.

We realise that some people who pay Council Tax and Rent may have their incomes affected as a result of the measures taken in response to COVID-19. That could result in them having difficulty in paying their Council Tax or Rent.

If you think you may have difficulty paying your Council Tax or Rent then please contact the Council as soon as possible on 03452 777 778 and we will discuss it with you.

We know that our phone lines will continue to be extremely busy so, if it is an option, please use our online services, including our Contact the Council webpage, which provides information on ways to get in touch and to access council services.

We also recognise that some people in Angus may now require to Access Welfare Entitlements, where they might not have needed to previously. You will find helpful information about Benefits and Money Advice on our website.

For more details on financial advice and assistance see the Angus Council News website.

See the Angus Council News general website for daily updates.

Council house/garage rent update letters are out!

If you are an Angus Council tenant (including garages and garage sites), you should have received your annual rent update letter for 2020/21 by now.

If you haven’t received your  rent notification, please let us know by emailing HousingQPP@angus.gov.uk or call us on ACCESSLine 03452 777 778.

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