Service areas

Each TMO carries out a number of management functions.

Anti-social behaviour

Customer service

Homeowners

Resident involvement

Complaints

Tenancy and estate management

cleaning

Repairs

Rent and service charges

Allocations

Rent charges explained
You are responsible for making sure that any costs related to living in your home are paid on time.
Rent
Rent is the money you pay to Lambeth Council to live as a tenant in your council home. All rent payments are due in advance. If you pay monthly, this is also done in advance.
How your rent is calculated
All social landlords across the country set their rents using a single formula. This is called rent restructuring. The formula sets rent levels based on the value of the property, the number of bedrooms and local earnings.
What your rent money pays for
The money we receive is used to look after your home. We are not allowed to spend the money we receive as rent on anything else. If tenants do not pay their rent, we cannot make day-to-day repairs on properties or provide services such as dealing with anti-social behaviour and keeping neighbourhoods clean.
Changes to your rent
The amount of rent charged for your property is usually reviewed at the beginning of each year with any change starting in April. The council will tell you at least four weeks before your rent is going to change.
Rent arrears
Rent arrears are what you owe in unpaid rent caused by late or missed or part payment of rent. If you have rent arrears you run the risk of losing your home.
Other charges
You also have to pay some charges, such as heating and your water rates. (These are not covered by Housing Benefit.)
Rechargeable repairs are raised when a tenant requests a repair which is not the responsibility of your TMO. For example, if a tenant locks themselves out and a new lock needs to be fitted or a tenant leaves rubbish to be cleared from a property they have left. An estimate will be sent to you followed by a final repair bill. As with all debts it may be possible to pay your bill by instalments. Please see the guidance leaflet "Your right to repair and recharges for repairs".

Checking your rent account
You can also check your rent account
balance and payments made by using our rent and repairs online system.
For further information and to register for the service please go to
www.lambeth.gov.uk

Paying your rent
You can choose to pay your rent using any of the methods below:

Online using our online payment service please visit our website on www.bgrmo.org.uk or www.lambeth.gov.uk

By using our 24-hour telephone hotline 0845 3000 328.

Swipe card at the post office or at any retailer displaying the PayPoint sign.

Direct Debit. Payment must be monthly in advance. If you sign up to pay by direct debit for 12 months you will be entered into a prize draw, with the chance to win £100.00. To register or find out more call Lambeth Service Centre on 020 7926 8894.

Standing Order through your bank or building society. You can request a standing order form by calling your local TMO. There is a £10.00 incentive if you choose to pay by standing order.

By Post cheques and money orders should be made payable to ‘London Borough of Lambeth' and sent to Lambeth Revenue Service, PO Box 22003, London SW2 1WS. Please write your rent account number on the back of the cheque or money order. Please do not send cash through the post.

In person at the cashier's office at: Olive Morris House, Cashiers Office, 18 Brixton Hill, London SW2 1RL. Open Monday to Friday 09.00 - 16.15.

There is an incentive for paying your rent. If you have maintained a clear rent account during the previous financial year, you will be entered into a prize draw to have either a room of your choice decorated or £150.00 decorations allowance. Please contact the office for further details.

Rent: Ways to pay your rent
If you can choose to pay your rent using any of the methods below:
1. Online
Using our online payment service please visit our website on www.bgrmo.org.uk and click on the Rent Payment tab at the top or Lambeth's website http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/Payments
2. By using our telephone hotline
You can pay by credit or debit card by phoning the 24 hour hotline on 0845 3000 328.
3. Swipe card

At the post office. You can pay by cash or cheque. Cheques must be made payable to The Post Office ltd.

At any retailer displaying the PayPoint sign.

4. Direct Debit
By direct debit through your bank or building society. Payment must be monthly in advance. If you sign up to pay by direct debit for 12 months you will be entered into a prize draw, with the chance to win £100. To register or find out more call Lambeth Service Centre on 020 7926 8894 or e-mail rentbydd@lambeth.gov.uk you can also speak to staff at one of Lambeth's Customer Centres.
5. Standing Order
Through your bank or building society. You can request a standing order form by calling Lambeth Service Centre on 020 7926 6000, or calling into the estate office.
6. By Post
By post, cheques and money orders should be made payable to ‘London Borough of Lambeth' and sent to:
Lambeth Revenue Service
PO Box 22003
London
SW2 1WS
Please write your rent account number on the back of the cheque or money order. Please do not send cash through the post.

7. In person
Payments can be made at the cashier's office at:
Olive Morris House
Cashiers Office
18 Brixton Hill
London
SW2 1RL
Open Monday to Friday 09.00 - 16.15
Keeping track of your rent
It's easy to keep up-to-date with your rent payments. A statement is available during office hours and will be delivered the same day it is requested. For an account statement, telephone the estate office on 020 7926 0158.
You can also check your rent account by using Lambeth's new online rent and repairs system at www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/HousingPlanning/CouncilHousing/PayingYourRen...

If you are having difficulties paying your rent, please see our guidance leaflets, "Rent: What happens if I get into rent arrears," and "The court process explained."
For debt advice, please refer to our guidance leaflet, "Rent: How to deal with rent arrears and other debts" or visit www.nationaldebtline.co.uk

Rent: How to deal with rent arrears and other debts
If you are having difficulty paying or you have fallen behind with the rent or service charges, get advice as soon as possible. Even a small amount of arrears can be difficult to pay off, especially if you are on a low income or benefits. If you are waiting to receive Housing Benefit to help pay your rent, you must let us know.
Lots of people have problems paying bills because of money or personal problems. It can happen to anyone. It is important that you let us know if you are having problems so we can help you deal with them.
What to do
1. Contact your housing office without delay
We may suggest an interview. This will allow us to:
Do a financial expenditure assessment, so we can see clearly what your incomings and outgoings are
Give advice on what you can do

And/or agree a way you can afford to pay what you owe us

Refer you to a debt counsellor or for independent debt advice
Details of any actions agreed will be confirmed in writing immediately after the interview.
2. Talk to a debt counsellor
We can arrange for you to speak with our partner organisation Twinpier, by telephone on 01273 486650. They will be able to offer you debt counselling over the phone. The Clapham Community Project is another debt advice agent on 020 7627 0240. The National Debtline can be reached on www.nationaldebtline.co.uk or 0808 808 4000.
You must tell Lambeth Benefit Service if your circumstances change in anyway (either your income or family circumstances). Your benefit may change if your income increases, drops or if you have someone else living with you.
3. Maximise your income
Are you claiming all the benefits you are entitled to: Could you claim Tax Credits? Are you sick or have a disability? You can use the online benefits calculator at www.entitledto.co.uk or at www.rightsnet.org.uk to work out if you have entitlement to any benefits. You can also telephone the office on 020 7926 0158.

4. Claim Housing Benefit
Housing benefit can help you pay your rent if you are on a low income. The amount you get will depend on your income, savings and your family circumstances.
You can get a Housing Benefit claim form by contacting Lambeth Benefit Service on 020 7649 9311. You can also get a form from the estate office or at the Lambeth Benefit Service at Olive Morris House.
You must give proof of your income and savings, and the income of any other adults living in your home (such as grown-up children), without delay.
5. Apply for Discretionary Housing Payment
The council has a limited fund from which it can make discretionary housing payments (DHPs). DHPs can be made to people who receive housing benefit but who need extra help with their housing costs. In Lambeth these costs are administered by Lambeth Benefit Service, which considers each request on an individual basis. You can get an application form from the benefits service by telephoning 020 7649 9311, or from any Lambeth Service Centre.
6. Check your tax code
Check with the Inland Revenue that your tax code is correct for your circumstances. You can enquire online at www.hmrc.gov.uk
7. Switching suppliers
You may also be able to save money by switching to better deals on a range of goods and services and comparing prices when you buy goods on a website such as www.kelkoo.co.uk or www.pricerunner.co.uk to make sure you always get the cheapest price.
8. Paying your rent arrears in instalments
If you cannot pay off the whole of what you owe us in one go we can arrange for you to pay by instalments with an agreed amount. This agreement will be on top of your rent each week.
9. Using your benefit payments to help clear your rent arrears
If you are on Income Support or income based Jobseeker's Allowance, we can ask Jobcentre Plus to deduct a set amount from your welfare benefits.
Credit Unions
Joining a credit union may also be an option you could consider. Credit unions encourage members to save and give them access to borrowing at reasonable rates of interest. You can usually borrow two or three times what you have saved.
Prioritise your debts
If is often difficult to pay everything you need at once. This is why you need to prioritise your debts. You should pay the most important ones first, and the less important ones in small instalments.
What are priority debts?
Priority debts are those that you must pay because the result of not paying them would be very serious.
Priority debts are those that could lead to you losing your home, being evicted, having your gas or electricity cut off or lead to fines, such as:

Rent or service charges

Mortgages or loans secured on your home

Gas, electricity etc.

Magistrates fines for criminal offences

Child support

We will help you manage your debts by:

Advising you on which debts are most important.

Making sure that we take into account the other debts that you have when you are repaying debts owed to us

Suggesting debt counselling and/or Lambeth Tenancy Support Service if you have multiple debts

Ending garage and other non-essential services to help you save money.

Housing benefit overpayment
Some tenants have to pay back money to the government for claiming more Housing Benefit than they should this can be costly. However as long as the extra housing benefit was received by accident (rather than on purpose) it may be possible to reduce the amount of installments.
Please also refer to our guidance section on:

? Means-tested benefits

? Non-means-tested benefits

? Going to court

Useful contacts
Clapham Community Project
St Anne's Hall, Venn Street, Clapham, London SW4 0BN. They are open for general enquiries Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.30 - 17.00 Phone: 020 7627 0240 Website: www.claphamcommunityproject.org.uk Email: admin@claphamcommunityproject.org.uk
JobCentre Plus
For welfare benefit claims for people of working age, contact your nearest Jobcentre Plus. To find out where the nearest offices are to you telephone 0800 055 6688, if you have a hearing or speech impaired 0800 023 4888 or online at www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk
Pension Service
For pension credit enquiries and enquiries about other benefits for people of retirement age please call 0845 60 606 265 or you can find further information online at www.thepensionservice.gov.uk
Brixton Advice Centre
167 Railton Road
London SW4 0BN
Phone: 020 7733 4674

Community Legal Services
They will direct you to the nearest agency that can help you and will also be able to direct you to free legal advice under the legal aid scheme if you qualify for this help. You can call them on 0845 345 4345 or online at www.clsdirect.org.uk

Rent: What happens if I get into rent arrears?

Any resident with arrears will not be entitled to a parking permit. Where applicable, any transfer application will be de-authorised until the arrears are cleared. If you have a garage, it may be repossessed. The actions outlined below are the same for everyone with arrears, even if you receive Housing Benefit.
Early arrears: 1 - 2 weeks' rent owed
We will send you a letter; telephone you or text you, if your account is more than 1 week in arrears or if the debt is over £10.00.
If you do not get back to us, we will do a follow up to the first action once your account is 2 weeks in arrears or more than £50.00 is owed. If you contact us and are having problems, we may allow you to clear the arrears by instalments
Moderate arrears: 3 - 4 weeks' rent owned
We will offer you an interview to check you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to, and if you have multiple debts we can refer you to debt counseling and/or Lambeth Tenancy Support Service.
If you break the arrangement you have agreed with us your Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) may issue a Notice of Seeking Possession (NOSP). This is the first stage in the legal process to evict you from your home. It is very important to keep to any agreement made, and or contact us again if your circumstances change or you are having difficulty keeping to the arrangement.
After 4 weeks: Notice of Seeking Possession (NOSP)
If the arrears are still rising 28 days after the issue of the NOSP, we may take the case to court. Before beginning any legal action we will have attempted to have interviewed you at least once. We would also have assessed if there are any other factors that could result in the arrears such as Housing Benefit and/or any vulnerability.
Even if we decided to take court action we will still attempt to contact you or try to come to an arrangement to pay your arrears with you. You can contact us at any point to discuss your arrears or agree to an arrangement.
After 8 weeks: Court Action
There will be very few occasions when we ask for immediate possession of your home in arrears cases. We will usually agree to a Postponed Possession Order. This order requires you to pay your current rent plus an agreed amount towards the rent arrears. We will not take further action as long as you keep to the terms of the court order. If the case gets to court, you may have to pay the court costs and this will be added to what you owe on your rent account. We will monitor the court order and write to you to confirm you are maintaining the order or if we find you have breached it.
What happens if you break the court order?
You could lose your home. We will go back to court if you do not pay us what the court have agreed you owe us. We will ask the court to fix a date for possession. You should seek your own independent legal advice.
The court will then give us a date, after this date we can then apply for a warrant to evict you. Once the court sets a possession date, you have become a Tolerated Trespasser and you have lost all of your rights as a secure tenant, including the Right to Repair and the Right to Buy.
You will also have a County Court Judgement against you that will make it difficult for you to get a loan, credit card or mortgage reference in the future.
Communication with you
As well as the letters we send you, we may contact you by telephone, text or email. This could be in the evenings, early mornings before people leave for work and/or on Saturdays. We may also send text messages, arrange interviews at our offices and may visit you in your home.
Our aim is to get you to talk about the problem causing the arrears then we can work out with you what to do to solve the problem. This may include a referral for debt counseling and/or Lambeth Tenancy Support Service.
Lambeth area advice and legal centres
Brixton Advice Centre Phone: 020 7733 4674
167 Railton Road, Brixton, London SE24 0LU
Clapham Community Project Phone: 020 7627 0240
St Anne's Hall, Venn Street, Clapham, London SW4 0BN

Your guide to Housing Benefit
This guidance leaflet has been developed by United residents housing aid residents who may wish to claim Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax benefit. United residents housing wants everyone who would qualify for Housing Benefit to claim the help they are entitled to receive.
Can I claim Housing Benefit?
You can make a claim for Housing Benefit if:

You pay rent to Lambeth Council

You pay rent to a landlord

You pay rent to a housing association

You are a boarder whose rent includes meals

You live in a Hostel

You live in a mobile home or houseboat

You are renting under a shared ownership arrangement

Can you tell me about the circumstances where I will not be entitled to claim Housing Benefit?
You will not be entitled to any Housing Benefit if:

You are not responsible for paying the rent. However, in certain circumstances, you can be treated as the person who is responsible for paying the rent, even if your name is not on the tenancy agreement, for example, you are the partner of the person named on the tenancy agreement

Either you or your partner, or both of you together, have more than £16,000 in savings (unless you get the guaranteed part of Pension Credit).

You pay rent to a close relative who lives with you

You live in a care home, such as a nursing home or elderly person's home

You rent from your ex-partner and you both used to live there

You are the parent or guardian of your landlord's child
You live at home as part of your job
You are an asylum seeker, unless you've been given refugee status or indefinite or exceptional leave (also called discretionary or humanitarian leave) to remain in the United Kingdom

You have been admitted to the United Kingdom on the condition that you have no recourse to public funds. This means that you must not claim benefits

You are a sponsored immigrant and have lived here for less than five years

You are in the United Kingdom illegally or your permission to stay has run out

It is advisable to get specialist advice regarding claiming Housing Benefit if you have newly arrived in or have recently returned to the United Kingdom, or if you have complex benefits needs. Specialist welfare benefit advice can be provided by our partner organisation Clapham Community via their website www.claphamcommunityproject.org.uk or in person at:
Clapham Community Project St. Anne's Hall Venn Street London SW4 0AX
Phone/fax: 020 7720 8731 Advice: 020 7627 0240 E-mail: admin@claphamcommunityproject.org.uk
Are there any other circumstances that might affect my eligibility to Housing Benefit?
You may not get Housing Benefit if any of the following apply:

You used to live with your landlord as a family member, relative or friend, and now pay that person rent

You live in a property run by a religious order and you are a member of that religious order

You rent from a trust and you are also a trustee or beneficiary
You rent the property from a company and you are a director or employee of the company

You used to own the property which you now rent

You are a student (most full-time students don't qualify, some do)

You are temporarily living away from your usual home

Where can I get a Housing Benefit application form?
HB forms are available by downloading the forms from Lambeth's website at www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/AdviceBenefits/ by visiting the estate office or by going to:
Olive Morris House 18 Brixton Hill London SW2 1RL
Phone: 020 7649 9311
We can arrange for an application form to be sent to you by telephoning or emailing your local TMO:
Blenheim Gardens - 020 7926 0158 blenheimgardens@lambeth.gov.uk
Loughborough - 020 7926 8800 loughborough@lambeth.gov.uk
Roupell Park - 020 7926 0219
Waltham - 020 7926 9083

What evidence and items of proof do I need to provide?

Your fully completed claim form

Evidence of Identity

Evidence of your address

Evidence of your National Insurance Number

Evidence of capital, savings and investments

Evidence of earnings

Evidence of other income

Please ensure you retain all your receipts
It is important that you contact the Housing Benefit department if you need more time to supply your proofs.
I have difficulty getting around; would it be possible for someone to come to my home to collect the claim form and proofs?
Yes, you can make an appointment for one of Housing Benefit advisors to visit you in your own home by phoning 020 7649 9311.
Please be reminded that you do not have to complete a new Housing Benefit form each year if you are over 65 years old. Also, if you move or your circumstances change, you are only required to complete a "change of circumstances form". Please remember to declare all changes in circumstances, for example: changes in income, employment, if a child moves out, your relationship status changes etc. If you require general welfare benefit or legal advice please contact any of the agencies listed below:
Brixton Advice Centre
167 Railton Road
Brixton
London SE24 0LU
Phone: 020 7733 4674
Centre 70
46 Knights Hill
West Norwood
London SE27 0JD
Phone: 020 8670 0070
Clapham Community Project
St Anne's Hall
Venn Street
Clapham
London SW4 0BN
Phone: 020 7627 0240

Lambeth Citizen's Advice Bureau
Ilex House
1 Barrhill Road
Brixton
London SW2 4RJ
Phone: 020 8674 8993
Lambeth Law Centre
Unit 4 The Co-op Centre 11 Mowll Street London SW9 6BG
Phone: 020 7840 2000 Fax: 020 7820 8303 Email: admin@lambethlawcentre.org
Waterloo Action Group
14 Bayliss Road
Waterloo
London SE1 7AA
Phone: 020 7261 1404
Age Concern
Third Floor
336 Brixton Road
London SW9 7AA
Phone: 020 7733 0528
Fax: 020 7346 6814
Email: admin@aclambeth.org.uk
Website: www.ageconcernlambeth.org.uk
Department of Work and Pensions
Website: www.dwp.gov.uk/
The Pension Service
PO Box 4
Gateshead NE92 1BQ
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.00am to 8.00pm
Phone: 0845 606 0265
Fax: 0191 218 6061
Textphone (for those with speech or hearing difficulties) 0845 606 0285
Help the Aged
207-221 Pentonville Road
London N1 9UZ
Phone: 020 7278 1114
Fax: 020 7278 1116
Email: info@helptheaged.org.uk
Website: www.helptheaged.org.uk

? Non-means-tested benefits 2009/2010
Income Support and income-based JSA
Attendance Allowances
Lower £47.10
Higher £70.35
Bereavement Benefits
Allowance 45 - 54 years old £28.58 - £88.58
55 to pension age a £95.25
Widowed Parents £95.25
child dependant b £11.35
Carer's Allowance £53.10
adult dependant £31.70
child dependant b £11.35
Child Benefit
Only or eldest child £20.00
Other children £13.20
Disability Living Allowance
Care component lower rate £18.65
Middle rate £47.10
higher rate £70.35
Mobility component lower rate £18.65
higher rate £49.10
Employment and Support Allowance c £64.30
Work-related activity component £25.50
Support component £30.85
Incapacity Benefit a (short-term or under pension age)
lower rate £67.75
higher rate £80.15
adult dependant £41.35
child dependant (w/ higher rate) b £11.35
Guardian's Allowance £14.10
Incapacity Benefit (long-term) £89.80
addition (under 35) £15.65
addition (35 - 44) £6.55
adult dependant £53.10
child dependant b £11.35
Industrial Injuries Benefit (variable depending on % disabled)
under 18 £17.61 - £88.05
18+ (or under w/ dependant) £28.72 - £143.63
Jobseeker's Allowance
under 25 £50.95
25+ £64.30
Maternity Allowance
standard £123.06
adult dependant £41.35
Retirement Pension
Category A (and Cat B for widow(er)s £95.25
with adult dependant £57.05
Category B husband's NI £57.05
Category D (non-contributory, aged 80+) £57.05
age addition (aged 80+) £0.25
child dependant b £11.35
Severe Disablement Allowance £57.45
Age addition aged under 40 £15.65
aged 40 - 49 £9.10
aged 50 - 59 £5.35
adult dependant £31.90
child dependant b £11.35

? Means-tested benefits 2008/2009
Income Support and income-based JSA
Personal Allowances
Single under 25 £47.95
25 or older £60.50
Lone parent under 18 £47.95
18 or older £60.50
Couple both under 18 £47.95, £72.35
one under 18 £47.95, £60.50, £94.95
both 18 or older £94.95
Dependent children 52.59 a
Premiums
Carer £27.75
Disability single £25.85
couple £36.85
Disabled child £48.72 a
Enhanced disability single or lone parent £12.60
couple £18.15
child £19.60 a
Family £16.75 a
Pensioner single (JSA only) £63.55
couple £94.40
Severe disability £50.35 /qualifying person
Pension Credit
Minimum guarantee single £124.05
couple £189.35
Additional amounts severe disability £50.35 /qualifying person
Carer £27.25
Savings credit threshold single £91.20
couple £145.80
Savings credit max. single £19.71
couple £26.13

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (b)
As for income support, income-based JSA or Pension Credit except:
Personal Allowances
Single 65 or older £143.80
Couple both under 18 (n/a for CTB) £72.35
one under 18 £94.95
one or both 65 or older £215.50
Premiums
Family lone parent £22.20
Baby addition £10.50
Child Tax Credit (annual figures)
Family element £545.00
baby addition £545.00
Child element £2,085.00
Disabled child £2,540.00
Severely disabled child £1,020.00
Working Tax Credit (annual figures)
Basic element £1,800.00
Couple or lone parent £1,770.00
30 hours element £735.00
Disability element £2,405.00
Severe disability element £1,020.00
50+ return to work 16 - 29 hours £1,235.00
30+ hours £1,840.00
Childcare one child 80% of up to £175/week
two or more children 80% of up to £300/week
Tax Credit Thresholds (annual figures)
First £6,420.00
no Working Tax Credit £15,575.00
Second £50,000.00

Capital Limits (lower, upper)
Income support / JSA £6,000, £16,000
Pension Credit £6,000, no upper limit
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit
Standard £6,000, £16,000
Pension Credit guarantee no limits
a - not applicable to new claimants
b - replaced by Local Housing Allowance, based on area and family size, in the private rented sector from April 2008

? The court process explained for rent arrears
I'm being evicted because of my rent arrears. What can I do?
If you are getting behind with your rent, it's important to act quickly to avoid the risk of being evicted. However, you cannot be evicted from your home until:
1.
Your local Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) obtained a court order to repossess the property; and

The court has issued a court bailiff with a warrant to evict you.

Your first step should be to check your rent book, payment statement and receipts to make sure that we are asking for the correct amount of arrears.
You should then discuss the rent arrears with us and try to come to an agreement about repayment of them. If you cannot pay the full amount you should try to pay some of the rent arrears back regularly. Please refer to our guidance leaflet Rent: how to deal with rent arrears and other debts.
If you receive Housing Benefit, the rent arrears may have arisen through a delay in the processing of payments. You should check any correspondence from us, and speak to our housing officer to check your entitlement to Housing Benefit. A Housing Benefit referral can be made from the estate office. If you are still unable to pay your rent arrears and think you will be evicted, you have the right to make a homeless application to Lambeth Council. Also see our leaflet, "Facts about homelessness."
If you receive a Summons for Possession this is because your TMO (on behalf of the 'claimant') is claiming possession of property you live in. The reasons for this will be set out in the Particulars of Claim which accompany the summons form. The summons may also include a money claim for arrears.
You should therefore take action immediately. You are advised to:

Get help and advice immediately from a solicitor or advice agency;

Fill in a defence form and return it to the court within 14 days of receiving claim form;

Attend the hearing, even if you have agreed about repayment of any arrears with your landlord.
Replying to the claim
Although you should normally fill in the defence form and return it to the court within 14 days, the court may accept your defence at any time before, or even at, the hearing. You should note, however, that if you do return the form after the 14-day period, the court may order you to pay any costs caused by the delay.
Paying any arrears
The court cannot accept payments. If you want to pay all or part of any arrears, send them to the claimant at the address for payment shown on the claim form, quoting the claimant's reference number, if one is given. Make sure you have a receipt for all payments made. Proof may be required if there is any disagreement. Make sure you include on your defence form details of any payments you have made since the claim was issued, saying how much was paid, to whom and when.
If I don't pay my arrears, what will happen at the court hearing?
A judge will decide whether or not to make an order for possession.
In making this decision, the judge will take account of the information provided by the claimant. The judge will also take account of any information you provide, such as details of your personal and financial circumstances, any proposal you have made to pay off any arrears, and any dispute you have about the amount owing. But the judge can only take the information into account if you provide it. Fill in these details in the defence form and attend the hearing. It is in your best interests to do both.
Should I attend the court?
If you are a defendant it is important to attend a hearing as this is your opportunity to tell the court about the reasons why you have fallen behind rent payments. If you do not attend, the court may make a decision to evict you. Once this decision is made by the court it is very difficult to stop the eviction from taking place. If you have a good reason, you may be able to have the proceedings adjourned to give you time to catch up on your rent arrears.
What kind of orders can the judge make?
The judge can:
decide not to make an order for possession;

make an order for possession but postpone it. This means that you will not have to give up possession of your home so long as you can pay off any arrears in a reasonable time (the judge will decide how long) and pay the rent as well;

make a possession order for some future date to allow you time to move out or find somewhere else to live; or

make an order that you give up possession in a very short time

You may also be liable to pay court costs. This cost is added to the debt and only becomes payable after you have satisfied the arrears debt.
Enforcement of a possession order
Where the court makes a possession order, the claimant can ask a bailiff to evict you if:
You do not give up possession on the date given in the order for possession; or

You do not make payments in accordance with the postpone order for possession.

Once a date for possession has been set by the court from 2006, you become what is legally termed a ‘tolerated trespasser' in your home. Meaning that we know you are living in this property, but you have lost all your rights as a secure tenant including the Right to Repair and the Right to Buy. Please see guidance leaflet "Your ‘Right to Repair' and ‘Recharges for Repairs'" for these details. Any payments received after you have become a tolerated trespasser will not be counted as rent but for use and occupation of the property only.
If your circumstances change after a possession order is made, you may apply to the court for the order to be varied. Use application N244 for this which is available from any court office. You may have to pay a fee make the application. You may also apply to the court to revive your tenancy if you have breached the terms of the court order made against your home (for 2006 Suspended Orders only). You are advised to seek your own independent legal advice regarding this.
Registration of judgments
If a county court makes a money judgment (e.g. for rent arrears and costs) your name and address will be entered in the Register of County Court Judgments if the claimant has to take steps to enforce the judgment. This may make it difficult for you to obtain credit.
What happens if I am evicted?
If you are evicted you will have to find alternative accommodation for yourself and anyone else who is living with you. Tenants who are evicted for non-payment of rent are likely to be considered to have made themselves ‘intentionally homeless', in which case the council would have no obligation to provide them with alternative accommodation (except for a short period to give them a chance to find another home for themselves).
The court will tell you the date and time that the bailiff will arrive. A representative from United Residents Housing will also be there. The locks of the house will be changed and any of your belongings that are still there will be cleared.
Getting help
You should seek help and advice immediately from a solicitor or an advice agency. This is particularly important whether or not you disagree with the claim since these notes cannot cover every different type of tenancy. You may qualify for assistance from the Community Legal Services (CLS) to meet some or all of your legal costs. Community Legal Advice is available on 0845 345 4345.
Court staff can only help you complete the defence form and tell you about court procedures. They cannot give legal advice. Please ask the estate office for a copy of leaflet Personal Support Unit (PSU).
Brixton Advice Centre Phone: 020 7733 4674
167 Railton Road
Brixton
London SE24 0LU
Centre 70 Phone: 020 8670 0070
46 Knights Hill
West Norwood
London SE27 0JD
Clapham Community Project Phone: 020 7627 0240
St Anne's Hall
Venn Street
Clapham
London SW4 0BN
Community Legal Advice Phone: 0800 0856 643
Website: www.clsdirect.org.uk
Lambeth Citizen's Advice Bureau Phone: 020 8674 8993
Ilex House
1 Barrhill Road
Brixton
London SW2 4RJ
Lambeth Housing Services Unit Phone: 020 7926 4200
2-7 Town Hall Parade Brixton Hill London SW2 1RP

Lambeth Law Centre Phone: 020 7840 2000
Unit 4 Fax: 020 7820 8303 The Co-op Centre Email: admin@lambethlawcentre.org 11 Mowll Street London SW9 6BG
Lambeth Revenues and Benefits Service
Brixton Customer Centre Phone: 020 7649 9311 18 Brixton Hill London SW2 1RL
Wandsworth County Court Phone: 020 8333 4351
76-78 Upper Richmond Road Fax: 020 8877 9854 Putney London SW15 2SU
Waterloo Action Group Phone: 020 7261 1404
14 Bayliss Road
Waterloo
London SE1 7AA

For free confidential legal advice phone 0845 345 4345
If you are worried about going to Wandsworth County Court on your own, then get in touch with the Personal Support Unit, preferably before the day of your hearing.
Phone: 020 8333 4366 Monday - Friday: 9.45am - 4pm Website: www.thepsu.co.uk Email: wandsworth@thepsu.co.uk
Ways to contact us:
United Residents Housing
The Loughborough Centre
105 Angell Road
London
SW9 7PD
Telephone: 020 7733 9929