Having financial concerns can be a stressful and worrying time. We can help. From offering advice to providing you with information Merthyr Valleys Homes (MVH) will always be available to support our tenants.
BENEFITS & ADVICE
If you have a low income, you may be entitled to claim Housing Benefit to help with your housing costs. For more information on making a claim, or to work out if you may be entitled to help, visit Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council’s website.
There’s a ‘Benefits Calculator’ that you can use to work out if you’re entitled to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you can ask the DWP for help with your housing costs. You’ll be asked for proof of your tenancy and rent charges, and we can help you with this process to ensure that the correct amount is paid.
Housing costs will generally be paid to you with your personal allowance, which will then ensure that you’re able to pay your rent to MVH.
Are you concerned that you may be entitled to more help than what you’re getting? Our Welfare Benefits and Welfare Benefits Advisors are here to help you.
They can help with:
- Benefits advice
- Maximising your income
- Applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment
- Budgeting and the costs of running your home
- Advice on Basic Bank Accounts and Credit Union savings accounts
- Advice on dealing with loan sharks
- Sign posting to low-cost loans
- Low-cost Home Contents insurance
- Getting the best deal from energy suppliers
- Low cost, recycled furniture
- Low cost, white goods (electrical goods for the kitchen)
BUDGETING & ADVICE
Knowing how to budget is the first step to being able to save money. MVH has a downloadable budget planner with tips on how to be money smart, and don’t forget to contact our Welfare Benefits Advisors who can help you increase your income and reduce your outgoings.
BASIC BANK ACCOUNTS
If you’ve been unable to open a current account, perhaps due to poor credit history, you may be able to open a basic bank account.
Basic bank accounts are much like typical current accounts except they have restricted features, such as no overdraft or chequing books. You can, however, withdraw cash, and some banks may allow you to set up direct debits.
Anyone can open a basic bank account. You just need to be able to show identification, like a passport, birth certificate, gas bill, electricity bill, or recent statement.
SAVING & BORROWING
MVH works closely with Merthyr Tydfil Credit Union to ensure our customers have access to savings and affordable credit. Credit Union members can save at an affordable level, be it £1 or £100, as small and regular amounts soon add up.
Visit Merthyr Tydfil Credit Union at 139 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 8DN or visit their website.
RUNNING A HOME COSTS & ADVICE
If you already run your own home, you’ll know how much it can cost. As well as rent and council tax, there are utilities such as gas, electricity and water.
If this is the first time you're looking at a home, then there are costs you’ll need to think about. You need to make sure that you can afford these costs before you accept any offer that MVH makes you. Read our ‘The Cost of Running a Home’ guide for more information.
COSTS TO CONCIDER
When you first move into a home, you’ll need to budget for the following things:
- Fridge, freezer and washing machine
- Kitchen utensils, cutlery and crockery
Once you’ve set up, you’ll need to pay regular bills, including:
Council Tax is payable on top of the rent for general services provided by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and must contribute to Police and the Fire Service.
If you’re on a low income, you may be able to get assistance with your rent and council tax, contact Merthyr County Borough Council on 01685 725000 for more information.
There are two common ways of paying for water:
- Water metre – you only pay for the water you use
- Water rates – you pay a set amount no matter how much water you use. Water rates are calculated based on the Rateable Value of the property.
ELECTRICITY AND GAS
You’ll need to heat and light your home and cook and operate electrical appliances. Your fuel bills can range from £28 per week, perhaps more, especially in the winter.
There are many gas and electricity companies, so you could save a lot of money if you shop around to find the best deal. For more information about which utilities provider is best for you, visit uSwitch.
A TV licence costs £145.50 each year which is £3.00 per week. Find out more about how to pay on TV Licensing’s website.
HOME CONTENTS INSURANCE & ADVICE
If you’re a tenant, then your landlord may not cover your contents as part of the tenancy agreement.
Contents insurance is designed to help protect your possessions. No matter how careful you’re, there’s always a risk that your belongings could be broken, damaged or stolen, so home contents insurance can help provide peace of mind.
It’s a good idea to consider what a home contents insurance policy could offer you when deciding whether you need one. The My Home Contents Insurance Scheme can offer you insurance for the contents of your home including cover for items such as:
- electrical items
For more information ask your local housing officer for an application pack or call Thistle Tenant Risks on 0345 450 7288. Alternatively, please visit their website for more information or to request a call back.
The National Housing Federation is an Appointed Representative of Thistle Insurance Services Ltd. Thistle Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN 310419. Registered in England under No. 00338645. Registered office: Rossington’s Business Park, West Carr Road, Retford, Nottinghamshire, DN22 7SW. Thistle Insurance Services Ltd is part of the PIB Group.