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Ongo Homes has urged its 9,600 tenants to take responsibility for paying their rent as arrears begin to rise.
Ongo Homes is North Lincolnshire’s largest social landlord and is currently in arrears of over £1 million. During the last financial year, Ongo Homes evicted 61 tenants. This is the highest number since 2007. Since April this year, a further 10 families have been evicted. This is in spite of the fact that Ongo bosses generally state that eviction is a last resort.
The organisation has confirmed that the current level of arrears is £1,007,931. This is an increase in comparison to last year but has not risen at a faster rate than previous years.Tenants who are struggling with arrears have also been warned they face paying more than £300 in costs if taken to court.
The income collection manager at Ongo, Andrea Morley said: ‘Our aim is not to evict our tenants and this is always our last resort. We want our tenants to sustain their tenancies and to do this, they must pay their rent. However, is it absolutely crucial that tenants take responsibility for their rent payments to avoid falling into arrears. Paying rent is not an option for tenants living in our homes, and we will always support anyone having difficulties to offer advice and guidance on how to resolve their debt issues.’
She continued: ‘Ultimately it does come down to tenants taking responsibility to ensure their rent is paid on time so they can continue to live in their home. Rent payments need to be the number one priority for our tenants. We make lots of attempts to contact tenants who are in arrears but if we cannot make contact or if a tenant’s debt continues to rise, very often the only option left is to take legal action.’