Renters reminded of responsibilities in new local authority campaign

Prioritising paying the rent ahead of buying Christmas presents is the key message of a seasonal campaign launched by Basildon Council in a drive to reduce the number of tenants getting into arrears.

Cllr Don Morris, chairman of Basildon Council’s housing committee
Cllr Don Morris, chairman of Basildon Council’s housing committee

The 'Rent first' campaign also emphasises the importance of keeping up to date with rent payments.

Other key messages include reminding tenants that falling behind with the rent can result in them being evicted and to make sure they claim any benefits they may be entitled to.

Target audiences are tenants who are already in arrears, those aged between 20 and 40, households on an annual income of £24,000, and single-parent families.

The council is using traditional print media, Facebook, Twitter and direct text messaging as the main comms channels for the campaign.

Success will be measured by levels of social-media engagement, as well as any reduction in the number of tenants who are behind with their rent going into the New Year.

Alex Ellis, senior comms account manager at Basildon Council, told PRWeek: "This marks the fourth phase of a wider campaign that began last December. In the build-up to Christmas we wanted to remind our tenants that rent is still the most important bill to pay."

He added: "Research tells us that one in seven people worried about money every day last Christmas and 1,205 tenants started the New Year in rent arrears. This campaign is about encouraging our tenants to not bury their heads in the sand and seek the help and advice available to avoid financial stress."

Cllr Don Morris, chairman of Basildon Council’s housing committee, commented: "This is a really important campaign. Rent is the most important bill and coming up to Christmas, which is an expensive time for everyone, it has to be a top priority.

"We will be carrying out targeted communications to those in serious arrears in a bid to encourage tenants to seek the help and advice available."

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