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Birmingham City Council

FAQ Revenue and Collection Service

What do you mean by ‘Revenue and Collection’?

We collect rent and service charge payments from our customers. We make sure that payments can be made using a method that suits customers’ circumstances. We also offer advice and support based on your personal circumstances, if you find it difficult to make payments.

The Revenue and Collection Team are responsible for ensuring the annual rent notification is implemented. We are responsible for collecting Shared Equity rents and Sundry Debt charges, both of which are explained below. We are part of the Homes and Neighbourhoods Directorate, and are also responsible for:

  • checking that you are charged the correct amount of rent
  • maintenance of general rent accounts
  • ensuring that your rent account is accurate
  • ensuring that rent payments you make show on your rent account.

These Frequently Asked Questions explain more about the Revenue and Collection service.

RENT AND SERVICE CHARGES

What are service charges?
How will I know what my new rent and service charges are each year?
If I pay too much rent and service charges can I have a refund?
Where can I find out more about my rent and service charges?

SUNDRY DEBTS

What is a sundry debt?
How will I know that I have a sundry debt?
What if I cannot pay my sundry debt?
Can I be taken to court if I do not pay my sundry debt?
I have received a letter stating that I am being taken to court due to non-payment of my sundry debt. What should I do?
I have missed payments with my court order. What should I do?
If I pay too much on my sundry debt, can I have a refund?
What does the Debt Advice Team do?

SHARED EQUITY RENT ACCOUNTS

What is a Shared Equity rent account?
How can I pay my Shared Equity rent and sundry debt accounts?
What can I do if I have lost my rent payment card?
What should I do if I cannot pay my Shared Equity rent account?
Can I be taken to court if I do not pay my Shared Equity rent account?

OTHER

Can you help me if English is not my first language?
Can I become more involved in helping to monitor the Revenue and Collection service?
How can I share my views on the Revenue and Collection service?
Who can I contact if I want to know more about my rent and service charge calculation?
Who do I contact if I do not agree with my sundry debt charge?
Who do I contact if I want to know more about my Shared Equity rent account?


RENT AND SERVICE CHARGES

What are service charges?
Service charges are shared costs paid by customers who receive shared services, such as in high-rise flats. Shared services might include maintaining lifts, concierge service, caretaking, lighting and cleaning of communal areas.

How will I know what my new rent and service charges are each year? Rent and service charges are reviewed annually. We will write to you in September each year informing you of your new rent charge. We will give you four weeks notice so that any direct debits you have set up to pay your rent can be altered in line with the direct debit guarantee.

If you are subject to service charges, details of your new service charges will also be included in this letter so that you can see the full breakdown of your new weekly rent.

Information about how we set your rent and service charges can be found in the Rent and Debt Collection FAQs.

If I pay too much rent and service charges can I have a refund?
We will refund any credit on your account within 10 working days once we have checked that your account is in credit and you have no other debts to be cleared.

Where can I find out more about my rent and service charges?
Please see our Rent and Debt Collection FAQs.

SUNDRY DEBTS

What is a Sundry Debt?
A Sundry Debt is a charge for a service provided by the Homes and Neighbourhoods Directorate that is separate from your rent or service charge.

How will I know that I have a Sundry Debt?
You will have a Sundry Debt if you have received a service from the Homes and Neighbourhoods Directorate. For example, if you have had a rechargeable repair carried out or you have had a temporary stay in a hostel, you will receive an invoice.

Invoices should be paid immediately.

What if I cannot pay my Sundry Debt?
If you have problems paying your Sundry Debt you should telephone the Sundry Debts Team immediately on 0121 303 3350 or 0121 675 8045. A member of the team can advise you about payment options.

Can I be taken to court if I do not pay my Sundry Debt?
Yes. If you do not pay your sundry debt we may take legal action against you. You will be liable for any costs we incur from taking this action; they will be added to your debt.

We can also refer your debt to a debt collection agency to collect on our behalf and they may visit you at home.

I have received a letter stating that I am being taken to court due to non-payment of my Sundry Debt. What should I do?
You should telephone the Sundry Debts Team immediately on 0121 303 3350 or 0121 675 8045. A member of the team will advise you on how to avoid this action. They will consider stopping action or adjourning the case if you are able to clear the debt in full or make a reasonable repayment arrangement.

If you have a Sundry Debt garage account you may be sent a Notice Seeking Possession for non-payment. This means that we will change the locks and take possession of the garage. If this happens, you should contact the Sundry Debts Team immediately on 0121 303 3350 or 0121 675 8045. A member of the team will advise you on how to avoid this action.

We will work with you to identify the reason for your arrears and if you are unable to clear the arrears in full we will then agree a realistic repayment plan based on your personal circumstances.

We will offer you and make a referral for independent debt advice. (See below, “What does the Debt Advice Team do?”).

I have missed payments with my court order. What should I do?
You must contact the Sundry Debt Team immediately on 0121 303 3350 or 0121 675 8045. A member of the team will advise you on how to bring your payments up to date. You will have a maximum of one month to do this.

If I pay too much on my sundry debt, can I have a refund?
Yes. We will refund any credit on your account within 10 working days once we have checked that your account is in credit and you have no other debts to be cleared.

What does the Debt Advice Team do?
The Debt Advice Team offers free and confidential debt advice for its customers with experienced and friendly advisors. Advisors will provide you with independent and impartial advice and information on welfare benefits as well as solutions to your personal debt problems. We have been working since January 2003 to help people who are experiencing debt problems. Members of the team use their extensive knowledge and expertise to maximise client income for those both in and out of work. We help thousands of people every year.

The Debt Advice Team can help you by:

  • making sure you are getting all the welfare benefits you are entitled to
  • completing relevant welfare benefit application forms
  • providing budgeting advice
  • preparing a full debt repayment plan
  • talking to people to whom you owe money, including the Rent Service.

For more information telephone the debt advice line on 0121 303 2087.

SHARED EQUITY RENT ACCOUNTS

What is a Shared Equity rent account?
A Shared Equity account is where a customer has purchased part of their property from the council and pays rent for the percentage still owned by the Housing and Constituencies Directorate.

How can I pay my Shared Equity rent and Sundry Debt accounts?
There are several ways that you can pay these accounts:

  • by telephone: Shared Equity customers can telephone 0121 464 2001 at any time of day or night to pay their rent using our automated service. Select option 3 and make sure you have your rent payment card and your credit or debit card. Sundry debt account customers can telephone our cashiers office during office hours (8.45am – 5.15pm Monday to Thursday and 8.45am – 4.15pm on a Friday) on 0121 464 9671
  • online: Shared Equity customers are able to pay using their debit or credit card on our secure internet payment facility at www.birmingham.gov.uk/payrent
  • standing order: You can set up a weekly, monthly or quarterly standing order from your bank account to pay your Shared Equity rent account or Sundry Debt. To set up your payment, telephone the Sundry Debts Team on 0121 303 3350
  • at a payzone outlet: Shared Equity customers can pay with cash or debit card at their local PayZone outlet. You will need your rent payment card
  • at a PayPoint outlet: Shared Equity customers can pay their rent with cash at their local PayPoint outlet. You will need your rent payment card
  • at the Post Office: You can pay your rent or Shared Equity rent account or Sundry Debt charge by debit card, cash or cheque at your local post office. You will need your rent payment card or invoice. Cheques should be made payable to `Post Office Ltd`
  • by post: you can send a cheque or postal order to Birmingham City Council, Finance Department (Revenues), PO Box 4092, B4 7AD. Make it payable to `Birmingham City Council Housing` and write your name, address and payment reference number on the back
  • by bank giro credit: Sundry Debt customers can make payment at any bank, although a fee may be charged. Please remember to write your reference number on the back of the cheque
  • Housing Benefit: if you are a Shared Equity customer on a low income, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit to pay for all or part of your rent. For more information, telephone the Sundry Debt Team on 0121 303 3350

What can I do if I have lost my rent payment card?
Shared Equity rent customers can use their plastic swipe card to pay using most of the methods detailed above. It has your rent reference number in the bottom right hand corner.

If you have lost this card and need a replacement, please telephone the Sundry Debt Team on 0121 303 3350.

What should I do if I cannot pay my Shared Equity rent account?
You must contact the Sundry Debt Team immediately on 0121 303 3350 or 0121 675 8045. A member of the team will advise you on how to bring your payments up to date.

We will refer you to the Debt Advice Team (see above, “What Does the Debt Advice Team do?”).

We will also advise you to make an appointment at your local Neighbourhood Office for Housing Benefit advice.

Can I be taken to court if I do not pay my Shared Equity rent account?
Yes. If you fall into rent arrears we can refer you for further court action.

OTHER

Can you help me if English is not my first language?
If you do not understand our documents, then please ask a friend or relative who understands English, to contact us. We will then arrange for an interpreter to speak to you in your language.

We will:

  • provide induction loops and sign language facilities if you need them
  • use written and spoken language that is clear and easy to understand
  • provide you with written documents that are easy to read
  • offer documents in large print, Braille or on audio CD if required.

Can I become more involved in helping to monitor the Revenue and Collection service?
Yes you can – we value feedback from customers as it helps us to improve and develop our services. If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved, please telephone the Revenue and Collection service on 0121 303 3831.

How can I share my views on the Revenue and Collection service?
You can email your comments and views to SUNDRYDEBTS@birmingham.gov.uk. You can also use the `Your Views` procedure.

Who can I contact if I want to know more about my rent and service charge calculation?
You can telephone the Rent Control Team on 0121 303 3832 and a member of the team will help you.


Who do I contact if I do not agree with my Sundry Debt charge?
You can telephone the Sundry Debts Team on 0121 303 3350 or 0121 675 8045 and a member of the team will help you.


Who do I contact if I want to know more about my Shared Equity rent account?
You can contact the Sundry Debts Team on 0121 303 3350 or 0121 675 8045 and a member of the team will help you.