Direct Debit Tenant Support Charter

Content owner : Last updated : 25/09/2014

Since April 2014, all council tenants have been required to pay their rent by direct debit. The change has been made to ensure a more efficient and effective way of collecting rent that will enable the council and KNH to meet the challenges of welfare reform and help keep tenants out of rent arrears.

KNH has been working with bank account providers to make sure that alternative account types are available that will allow direct debits. However, we accept that a small number of tenants will not be able to make this change and this charter sets out how we will make sure they will not be unduly impacted.

If for any reason you are unable to hae a bank account that allows direct debits, you must contact us as soon as possible so that we can help.

Responding to tenants who are unable to make the change to direct debit

  1. Creating a record of tenants who need support
  2. KNH will work with customers and relevant partners to identify those tenants who need to support to make the transition to direct debit and may be exempt from direct payments of Universal Credit may need extra help and support to access banking facilities.

  3. Ensuring data protection and confidentiality
  4. KNH will only share information about a tenant with the explicit permission of the tenant. All records will be stored confidentially and access to them will be limited to KNH and relevant partners (e.g. Pinnacle, KC Customer and Exchequer service and other landlords for whom we provide a tenancy management service) on a strictly need to know basis.

  5. Promoting the charter to tenants
  6. KNH will promote the existence of this charter and encourage tenants to share information that could affect their ability to receive direct payments of Universal Credit or pay rent by direct debit. Where a tenant requests further support then this will be recorded by KNH and a record kept of what support they have received.

  7. Access to tenant support criteria
  8. KNH considers a tenant to be in need of support if they do not have a bank account that allows direct debit payments.

    KNH will provide information to tenants on the types of banking products they may be able to access to allow them to set up a direct debit to pay their rent. In line with Financial Services Authority regulations, KNH are not allowed to fill in banking applications on behalf of tenants but can provide tenants with banking application forms.

    KNH will try to help tenants make rent payments by direct debits. Any tenant who is genuinely unable to either access or facilitate direct debit rent payments via a bank or building society account will be eligible to make rent payments using an alternative flexible payment method. In such cases KNH will not take legal action against them for failing to pay their rent by direct debit.

    However, if there are instances of persistent non-payment or where a tenant has made no significant efforts to address issues related to their inability or unwillingness to pay their rent then KNH will take legal action to end the tenancy.

  9. Flexible options for tenants who need support to set up a direct debit
  10. Key information will be provided in a language or format that is appropriate to the tenant (e.g. braille, audio, face to face conversation, interpreter).

    Limited alternative payment methods will be offered as appropriate.

    Individual tenant needs will be reviewed and support given to help them make the transition to direct debits over time.

Quality Assurance

KNH will collect information relating to performance including the following:

  • Amount of debt arising out of arrangements that have been put in place for tenants needing support and information about recovery action
  • Number of known tenants needing support and quantative information about the impact on the service
  • Number of complaints and break down of this information into type of complaints and at which stage of the procedure they were resolved

Tenant obligations

KNH expects that tenants will help ensure that KNH can operate a high quality, cost effective rent collection service by working with us to make sure they pay their rent by direct debit wherever possible or by other agreed methods where this is not possible.