Financial assistance for residents

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Alert

If you require financial relief or assistance, we may be able to help. 

During the COVID-19 emergency our staff are working weekends where possible, meaning most applications are being processed within 3 days where all relevant information is provided when applying.

Options and support available are as follows:

Local welfare assistance Click to get info

Local welfare assistance could help if you or your family are in severe financial hardship, especially if there is a risk to health or safety.

Local welfare assistance can help with

  • food vouchers, or a referral to the local food bank
  • top up for electricity or gas pre-paid meters
  • essential household items to help you set up home, or remain in your home
  • a referral to get low cost furniture.

If you’re experiencing exceptional hardship and it wasn't your fault, you could qualify for help to reduce your Council Tax bill. You can apply if you are experiencing severe financial or personal hardship caused by events outside your control.

View the Discretionary Council Tax Hardship Scheme

The Discretional Housing Payment Scheme allows us to top up your housing related benefit for a limited time to cover housing costs like rent, deposits and removals. Payment may be made on a regular basis or as a one-off payment, depending on the reason for your claim.

Council Tax Support Click to get info

If you’re experiencing exceptional hardship and it wasn't your fault, you could qualify for help to reduce your Council Tax bill.

View Council Tax Support

We understand that things may be financially difficult for you at this time and you may be wondering how you can pay your Council Tax and if help will be available to you. We have put some general information together for you which may help along with some questions and answers.

General information

Waltham Forest will not be providing payment holidays as Council Tax is essential for the provision of essential services, but we would like to assist customers who are in financial hardship.

If you have lost your job, are being furloughed or have claimed Universal Credit you may be entitled to Council Tax Support. This will means that your Council Tax may be reduced.

Claim Council Tax Support

  1. You may also be entitled to Discretionary Council Tax Hardship if you do not meet the criteria of Council Tax Support or if you are still experiencing severe financial hardship. Please complete the form using the link below and provide all the information and evidence requested

Claim for Discretionary Council Tax Hardship

  1. Council Tax Support Claimants (CTS)

The Government announced that it would be giving Local authorities £500 million to help with a hardship for Council Tax Payers. Waltham Forest has been allocated £2 Million to help those residents struggling with Council Tax payments.

The Government’s strong expectation is that billing authorities will provide all recipients of working age local council tax support (CTS) during this financial year 2020-21 with a further reduction in their annual council tax bill of £150, this will be awarded regardless of whether or not the Council Tax Payer has been affected by COVID-19, directly or indirectly.

If you are getting CTS and of working age the £150.00 will be automatically awarded to your account and will reduce your council Tax charge. You will be notified in writing of this. As you may still have a charge to pay you will receive a new Council Tax bill with the new instalment amounts.​

Questions and Answers

Why do I still have to pay Council Tax during this Pandemic?

We plan yearly budgets well in advance so we can be sure that important services will be delivered. Council Tax is a priority bill and Local Authorities will need to continue to collect payments, however we will look to assist customers who can demonstrate that they are in financial hardship.

What help is available for residents struggling with their Council Tax bills at this time?
If residents are struggling to pay Council Tax they may be entitled to Council Tax Support or Discretionary Council Tax hardship, you can claim this using the links above.

You can also complete the Council Tax Covid Support form telling us about your situation and we will see if we can help by changing your instalment dates for you.

I have seen reports saying that some councils have given residents a Council Tax holiday for several months. Does Waltham Forest plan to do the same?

Waltham Forest have made the decision not to do this as a general rule. A payment holiday means that the amount payable is compressed over a shorter period of time.

You can increase your instalments to pay over 12 months instead of 10 by completing the Council Tax Covid Support form.

I have lost my job. Do I still have to pay Council Tax?

If you have lost your job, being furloughed or are to claiming Universal Credit you may be entitled to Council Tax support. If you are entitled to this your council tax charge may be reduced which means the amount you have to pay back will be less than your original bill.

You will have to complete the Council Tax Support form.

Can I increase the number of instalments to pay my Council Tax?

Council Tax will have to be paid by the end of March 2021 so if your bill shows your last instalment as January 2021 then you can ask us to extend your instalments until March 2021. Please complete the Council Tax Support form.

I usually pay my council Tax by Pay Point at the post office or at a Pay Point outlet and am unable to leave the house. What can I do?

You can set up a direct debit with us so the required instalment amount will come directly out of your bank account each month and will save you having to leave the house. You will have 6 payments dates to choose from 1,6,10,15,21 and 28. You can complete the Council Tax Support from and provide your bank details to us.

You can also call the automated payment line and make payment using your debit or credit card. Call 020 849 3000 this line is available 24 hours.

You can also make a payment online using your debit or credit card.

Can I change the date my instalment is due?

Yes if you pay by cash, debit/credit card you can choose one of the following dates to pay

1, 9 or 25 of the month. If you want to change the date you pay please complete the Council Tax Support form.

If you already pay by direct debit the following dates are available 1, 6, 10, 15, 21, 28 of the month.

Will you be sending me letters if I don’t pay?

If you do not pay you will receive a reminder letter or text  from us, if you are having trouble paying then you should consider applying for Council Tax Support or Discretionary hardship payment which if you are entitled to may reduce the amount you have to pay. You can claim this by completing the Council Tax Support form​.

Are Enforcement agents allowed to come to my door?

The Enforcement Agents we use are currently not visiting customers during this lockdown period, they may still contact you by phone or mail regarding any outstanding amount you owe. They will take into account your current financial situation when making any arrangements to pay.

The Council offers a range of help for residents having problems paying their rent or Council Tax during the current emergency. One simple form on the website is all you need to complete to apply for help.

You can also email the Housing Rents service for advice and assistance.

If you are living in Temporary Accommodation and need to talk to us about your rent, please email the team.

You can email the Home Ownership team for advice and assistance.

For Emergency Repairs (Council Tenants/Leaseholders) please continue to contact us as normal on 020 8496 4197.

The government has brought forward a package of measures to protect renters affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). With these in force, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home.

From 26 March 2020, landlords will have to give all renters three months’ notice if they intend to seek possession (i.e. serve notice that they want to end the tenancy) – this means the landlord can’t apply to start the court process until after this period.

Tenants are still liable for their rent and should pay this as usual. If they face financial hardship and struggle to pay this, support is available.

You can find out information for tenants or visit the Government’s website.

The Government has agreed with lenders that they will ensure support is available where it is needed for landlords. Landlords will also be protected by a three month mortgage payment holiday where they have a Buy to Let mortgages.

Landlords remain legally obligated to ensure properties meet the required standard – urgent, essential health and safety repairs should be made. An agreement for non-urgent repairs to be done later should be made between tenants and landlords.

More information for tenants and landlords

Other housing support Click to get info

Visit our Housing pages to find advice for tenants and leaseholder, both Council and privately rented.

For homelessness issues please contact 020 8496 3000 or Housing.advice@walthamforest.gov.uk. Do not try and visit with documents.

For temporary accommodation queries please email the team.

For updates on how repairs and maintenance to council properties is being effected visit housing repairs

Citizens Advice Bureau

Phone: 0300 330 10300 or 0300 330 1175

The Service offers advice on benefits, work, debt and money, housing, law and courts, family, health and immigration support

Age UK Waltham Forest

Phone: 020 8558 3404

The Service offers assistance with benefit applications such as Pension Credit, Carers Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Dial-a-Ride/Taxi Card applications, appeals, housing issues, alleviation of debt/fuel poverty or minimisation of risk of abuse.

Beware of fraud and scams Click to get info

During this time, it's important that residents are vigilant against fraud, not only for themselves but also vulnerable family members that could be at risk.

Read more on how to avoid scams and fraud