Tenants urged to clear arrears over Christmas

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SHEFFIELD Homes is launching a campaign urging thousands of council tenants to make use of a traditional two-week ‘rent holiday’ over Christmas to tackle rent arrears which currently total £5.3 million.

The company, which manages Sheffield’s 42,000 council houses, is urging tenants who have built up debt to continue to make payments at normal levels over the two weeks which are normally rent-free.

A Sheffield Homes spokesman said: “We are launching a campaign which includes posters around the city centre urging people with arrears to take part.”

Sheffield Homes said it is running the initiative again this year because payments made against arrears over the Christmas period last year reached £750,000.

The company said that the 2011 initiative to encourage tenants to make payments during the festive fortnight was ‘very successful’.

Officials are targeting tenants who are most at risk of defaulting and already have existing rent arrears.

The spokesman said: “Although many tenants are making repayments as part of an agreement, we attempt to remind debtors that it is particularly important at this time of year to maintain payments.”