First Council Tenancy

How to pay my rent

You can choose to pay your rent in the following ways:

Direct debit – This is the easiest way to pay your rent and this ensures you never miss a payment. You can choose to pay every week, every two weeks or once a month. To find out more information about setting up a direct debit visit our direct debit page.

Standing order – You will need to check if you can pay standing orders with your bank or building society. The Councils bank details are: Barclays Bank: Sort Code 20- 08- 07: Account No; 83651142. You will need to show your rent payment reference number to make sure it goes to the correct rent account.

OnlineYou can pay your rent online. by debit or credit card, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

By phoning our automated telephone payment line on 01226 775445. You will need you rent account payment reference and pay using a debit or credit card.

You can check your rent account online.

Help towards paying my rent and council tax

How can I find out what help is available towards paying my rent?

When we sign you up for a property we give you information about welfare benefits that are available if you need to claim financial help towards paying your rent. We will also tell you of any possible shortfall in your benefit entitlement due to the under-occupation charge.

Our welfare benefits section has more information about help towards paying your rent.

How can I make a claim for housing benefit?

You can make a claim for housing benefit using the Council’s online benefit form. 

It’s important that you do this straight away and supply all required documentation as claims can’t be backdated more than 4 weeks.

If you don’t put your claim in straight away you will be responsible for paying the full rent due.

Housing benefit is usually only paid for one home, but in some circumstances it can be paid on two properties, but only for a short time, usually for up to 4 weeks.

You can only claim for dual liability once you have moved into your new tenancy.

How do I make a claim for the housing costs element of Universal Credit?

You need to make a claim here online.

You should do this straight away as it’s the date of your claim that will be used in deciding when any housing costs are paid. The housing costs element of Universal Credit can’t be backdated, apart from certain special circumstances.

After you apply, you must contact your local Job Centre Plus within 7 days to make an appointment with a work coach.

If you are awarded the housing costs element of Universal Credit, it is your responsibility to pay the rent due.

Can I claim the housing costs element of Universal Credit on two properties?

No, the notice period of the property you are leaving is not covered under Universal Credit. But, in very limited circumstances it may be possible for housing to be paid on two properties.

You must be living in the property to claim the housing costs element. .

There are very different rules for people who are already getting the housing costs element of Universal Credit and who are moving to another property. The amount of housing costs awarded will be assessed using the actual housing costs charged for the property you are living in on the date the monthly re-assessment period is due. This means it is possible for there to be a reduction in the amount awarded for that month and you would have to pay the shortfall from another income.  You should check if this will apply to your circumstances.

I struggle with filling in forms and making claims, can you help me?

If you don’t have family, friends or a support worker who can help you fill in an online claim for housing benefit there are IT facilities available in local offices and staff there can help you.

If you need supported online help to make a claim for universal credit your work coach will be able to signpost you to the digital support officers located in the job centres.

If you are signing up to an introductory tenancy our Tenancy Support Officers will contact with you within four weeks of your tenancy starting to check if you need any help. They can help you with benefit claims and can help you with advice on how to manage your money. Sometimes they can give help or advice over the phone.

It is important that you don’t wait for them to get in touch with you before making a claim for either housing benefit or universal credit. If you want to use this service, we expect you to attend appointments and make sure you are at home for any pre-arranged home visits. You can contact our Tenancy Support team online.

 

What is under occupancy or bedroom tax?

If you claim universal credit or housing benefit, the amount you receive towards paying your rent will be reduced if you are of working age and living in a Berneslai Homes property with more bedrooms than you need.

If you’re affected, your Housing Benefit will be cut by the following percentage:

  • 14% if you have one spare bedroom; or
  • 25% if you have two spare bedrooms.
  • For example: If your rent is £80 a week and you claim housing benefit, each week you will have to make the following payment to your rent account to cover the shortfall:
  • £11.20 for one spare bedroom; or
  • £20 a week for two spare bedrooms.

It will be more if you are only entitled to partial housing benefit.

There is more information about size criteria and other welfare charges on the under occupation section of our website.

Council Tax

You need to let Council Tax know that you have moved using the Council Tax section on Barnsley Councils website.

 

Home Contents Insurance

It’s important that you arrange Contents Insurance to cover your belongings in case of a flood or fire. Berneslai Homes home contents insurance scheme for tenants and leaseholders from a quality insurer called Thistle Insurance Services. There is more information about our insurance content scheme in the insurance section of our website.

 

Gas and electricity supplier

When a property becomes empty we sign it up with Robin Hood Energy to provide gas and electricity. You can choose to change provider once you have moved in.

You can find out more about switching energy on the energy switching page of our website.

 

Find out my bin collection day

To find out your collection day, order a new bin or report a missed bin collection, visit the rubbish and recycling section on Barnsley Council’s website.

Top tips for removing wallpaper

We will give you some guidance on removing wallpaper when you sign up for the property.  We advise new tenants to carry out work in one room at a time, because if really large areas need to be re-plastered, the work is ordered on a planned programme, and it can take up to 16 weeks to be completed.

Prepare your room – Protect your floors and furniture with dust sheets. Take everything off all walls, including vents. Turn off the electricity to your room to avoid water or steam getting into electrical sockets or switches. Remove or loosen all light switch plates to allow you to remove any wall paper stuck behind them. Protect any switches and sockets from debris and drips with masking tape and plastic sheeting.

Step 1 Score the wallpaper – Use a wallpaper scorer to create small holes in the paper, which allows the solution to penetrate the wallpaper and loosen the adhesive base.

Step 2 Mix solution – While there are a number of commercially prepared solutions available, hot water mixed with fabric softener works just as good. Combine the water and fabric softener in a large spray bottle, with a concentration of one to one. Mix the solution in small batches to keep the water as hot as possible.

Step 3 Soak walls – Use a spray bottle to saturate a section of the wallpaper. Spray only as much of the wall as you can comfortably strip in a 15 minute period. Allow the solution to soak the paper for a few minutes before beginning.

Step 4 Strip Wallpaper – Grab pieces of wallpaper at a bottom corner and carefully pull upward. Use a wide putty knife to help remove the paper. Repeat the above steps until all the wallpaper is removed. If plaster is falling off the walls while stripping the paper off, stop and ring the Repairs Hotline on 01226 787878.

Step 5 Clean Walls – In a bucket mix a tablespoon of washing up liquid with very hot water. Use a sponge to wipe down the walls, scrubbing carefully to remove all traces of wallpaper adhesive. Finally, rinse down the walls with clean water and towel dry.

Get a bit of help… If the above steps are too much, why not use a steam stripper.  Here’s some discounted wallpaper stripper hires:

  • The Hire Station, 78 Doncaster Road, S70 1TW. Tel: 01226 287099 (60% discount).
  • HSS Hire, Wakefield Road, S71 1NG. Tel: 01226 732666 (15% discount).
  • Travis Perkins, Beevor Industrial Estate, S71 1HN. Tel: 01226 243225. (50% discount).
  • Speedy, Wakefield Road, S71 1NG. Tel: 01226 731644. (25% discount).
Repairing small cracks or holes

Follow these simply steps to repair small cracks or holes to your internal walls:

Step 1 – sand the hole or crack with some harsh / medium (60, 80 or 100 grit) sandpaper to get rid of any flaky paint or plaster that is left in the home.

Step 2 – Apply a small amount of the filler to the filling knife and then into the home or crack.

Step 3 – Once the hole or crack is filled, scrape off any excess to leave the filler flat to the wall.

Step 4 – leave it for 1 to 2 hours to dry properly.  Once dry it might need to be sanded if it’s not completely even – use slightly finer sandpaper this time (100 or 120 grit).

If you have any large cracks with a width of 3mm (size of a pound coin) please report this to the Repairs Hotline on 01226 787878, giving full details of which room, the area affected and we will investigate the matter.

If you find that small areas of plaster are damaged and flaking off, on various walls and ceilings (but only on one surface area), you should report it to the Repairs Hotline on 01226 787878.

When the plasterer first visits your home it will be to assess how much work there is, and a date will then be agreed to return and complete the work. If there is large areas that needs plastering then an order will be placed on a planned programme.  This is where jobs are batched together and released on monthly cycles.  The work could take up to 16 weeks to complete from when you first report it.

Useful contacts Moving home checklist

There are a lot of things to be done when you’re moving home, and it’s easy to forget things during the move. We’ve put together a checklist to follow, so you don’t overlook anything.

  • Contact your insurance company and give them your new address and the date you are moving.
  • Contact your media service provider (cable / satellite / broadband / telephone etc) to end service at your current address, and arrange for a new service at your new address.
  • Arrange with Royal Mail to redirect your post to your new address. There is a charge for this, and you can choose to have your post redirected for up to 3, 6 or 12 months. To find out more visit the Moving Home: redirection section of Royal Mails website.
  • If you claim benefits, you must inform the Benefits Department that you are moving by using the Change your details section of Barnsley Council’s website.
  • Let the Council Tax department know you are moving by using the change your details section of Barnsley council’s website.
  • Inform your electricity and gas supplier of your move. Make sure you give your supplier final meter readings on the day you move out.
  • Cancel any regular deliveries such as milk, newspapers etc.