• Your Rent
  • Additional Rent
  • Paying rent
  • Universal Credit and Housing Benefit
  • Rent Arrears
  • Payment Agreements
  • Court Action
  • Administration
  • Exceptions
  • Your Rent

    1. Every year the Co-op sets rent levels for its members. The rents are set at a level to cover the running costs of the Co-op.
    2. By paying rent on time members enable the Co-op to meet its running costs and to continue providing affordable housing.
    3. This policy describes the processes involved in collecting rent and the action to take in the event that rent is not paid.

    Additional Rent

    1. As well as rent all members are expected to pay a weekly service charge (additional rent). This covers the total cost of providing gas, water and electricity to each property.
    2. This amount is set at a level to cover the cost of services for the following year. If a house and/or co-op member uses less in services than that charged during the financial year, they may receive a service charge rebate. If they use more they may be surcharged.

    Paying rent

    1. Rent is due every Monday, a week in advance.
    2. The Co-op’s preferred method for receiving rent is by standing order – this saves the Co-op money in bank charges and worker time. Rent can also be paid by cash or cheque at the ASH Co-op office. The Office workers will process rent, provide bank details and advice on setting up a standing order, as well as account balances, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit claims, etc.
    3. Members on low incomes may be entitled to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (see below).

    Universal Credit and Housing Benefit

    1. Most members making a new claim for benefits will need to apply for Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a benefit system for people in or out of work. It replaces some legacy benefits (like JSA, ESA, and in most cases, Housing Benefit) and tax credits. Members applying for Universal Credit are encouraged to seek the advice of the office workers, particularly in relation to the housing element of their claim.
    2. Some members who are still receiving legacy benefits like JSA or ESA might still be getting Housing Benefit. Those seeking support with paying their rent (but not applying for any other benefits) may be able to apply for Housing Benefit if they can prove they have a ‘nil income’.
    3. Housing Benefit should be paid directly to the Co-op. In certain circumstances, the housing element of Universal Credit can be paid directly to the Co-op. This may happen at the request of the claimant or the Co-op – speak to the office workers if you would like help with this.
    4. To prevent any unnecessary delays members should seek to make their claim as soon as possible, and ensure that they have provided the required documentation in support of their claim (e.g. proof of identity, bank details, tenancy agreement etc.). Failure to do so may result in less benefit being paid.
    5. Housing Benefit and the housing element of Universal Credit do not cover the total rent charged and members are required to make up any shortfall between their weekly rent due and the amount contributed by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
    6. Benefit claims can take time to process and members may find themselves with significant arrears because the payment is late. Whilst members still remain responsible for any rent owed, the co-op will take the delay into account when considering the arrears on the condition that evidence has been provided that the claim is being processed. During this time, members will still receive written warnings of their arrears in line with our current policy.
    7. Members applying for benefits are still required to pay their additional rent (services) whilst their claim is being processed.

    Rent Arrears

    1. ASH Co-op's sole source of income is rent received from its members. When members fail to pay their rent the co-op's ability to cover its running costs is put at risk.
    2. Given this, the co-op operates an arrears policy to ensure that members do not accumulate rent arrears. Whilst the policy exists to help members manage and repay any arrears, it also provides the co-op with a framework to take appropriate action against any members, whose debt to the co-op has become unacceptable.
    3. Arrears action will be taken dependent on the level of arrears accrued and is based on the payment due each week. For the majority of members this will represent the weekly rent charged.
    4. For members receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (if it is a direct payment to the Co-op), the payment due represents the shortfall between the rent charged and the amount paid by Housing Benefit. There are several stages to the arrears procedure:
    5. Stage 1 – arrears equivalent to two week's payment due. A written warning will be sent. This will state the amount of arrears and advise the member what will happen if the arrears continue to rise. If you are unable to repay the arrears in one lump sum, you are advised to negotiate a repayment agreement at this stage (see Section 6).
    6. Stage 2 – arrears equivalent of three week's payment due. A written warning will be sent giving the member 1 week in which to make a payment agreement.
    7. Stage 3 – arrears equivalent to 4 weeks payment due. ASH Co-op will issue a written final demand for full pay.ment u>within 14 days. IT IS NOW TOO LATE TO MAKE A PAYMENT AGREEMENT, ONLY FULL PAYMENT WILL AVOID COURT ACTION TO REPOSSESS THE PROPERTY. If full payment of arrears is not received within the stated time ASH Co-op will issue an NTQ. Once this has expired we will apply to the relevant court for possession of the room, flat or house – this means eviction.
    8. ASH Co-op will also seek a money order to cover all arrears as well as any legal costs incurred by ASH Co-op in the course of recovering the arrears.
    9. For stage 1 and stage 2 arrears, ASH Co-op’s preferred method of warning is via email. Any member who wishes instead to receive a paper copy needs to inform the office.

    Payment Agreements

    1. Members falling behind with their rent should contact the Office and a member of the Rent Group immediately to negotiate a payment agreement, which allows members to repay their arrears at an agreed amount per a week.
    2. The Office workers and Rent Co-ordinators are delegated by the co-op to negotiate and ratify rent agreements with members.
    3. In order to make a payment agreement, members must supply a National Insurance number (unless it has already been provided when the tenancy is signed).
    4. Any such agreement needs to be made as soon as possible. ASH Co- op will not negotiate any new agreements after a final demand for full payment of arrears has been served.
    5. Each member making an agreement will be given a written record of any agreement made, with a copy being kept by ASH Co-op for reference.
    6. ASH Co-op will take no further measures to recover the arrears as long as the terms of the agreement are met. However, if the repayment agreement is broken a member will receive seven days in which to get up to date with payments, after which it becomes void, and the entire debt owing becomes due.
    7. If a payment agreement is broken and the entire debt becomes due, a final demand will be issued and normal rent procedures will be followed from this point (see point 5.8)..

    Court Action

    1. A final demand of full payment gives 14 days to clear the arrears. If the Member does not clear their arrears within this period (and an NTQ is not servable) ASH Co-op applies to the court for an immediate possession order on the room and a money judgement set by the court. If a NTQ is servable a court application will be made as soon as it expires.
    2. Immediate possession order: A Judge would normally order that a member must vacate their room, flat or house within 28 days of the court hearing. If the member refuses to leave within this time ASH Co-op is entitled to and will arrange for the court officer (bailiff) to enforce the order and evict the person from the room.
    3. Money judgement: this is an amount of money that the court says a member must pay to ASH Co-op.
    4. If at any stage prior to a court hearing a member clears their arrears (including any court costs that the Co-op have incurred), this process may be stopped.
    5. Court costs: The Co-op will apply for any costs incurred in taking a member to court to the member’s debt.


    1. The Office Workers with the support of the Rent Group will administer this policy.
    2. The Rent Group will present rent reports to General Meetings. In line with the secretarial group’s reporting schedule.


    1. Making an exception to this or any other policy can only be done by a General or Extraordinary General Meeting.
    2. Any member, who believes that exceptional circumstances have affected their ability to pay their rent, should contact the Office workers or a member of the Rent Group immediately, to discuss their arrears.
    3. Whilst the Rent Group will provide the General Meeting with a summary of the main issues involved, members seeking to obtain an exception to policy are advised to attend the General Meeting if possible, or send a representative to speak on their behalf, so that the meeting may be fully aware of all the facts involved in the matter.
    4. The meeting will consider the information provided by the member and the Rent Group and will decide whether it feels that an exception is appropriate. If an exception is allowed this will be as agreed by the meeting and will be confirmed in writing to the member concerned.
    5. If the General Meeting decides that an exception to policy is not appropriate then further action will continue as described in this policy.