All Barton House tenants must continue paying rent while out of homes, Bristol City Council confirms

It's been two weeks since Barton House was evacuated. Credit: PA

Bristol City Council has confirmed that people who were forced to leave their homes at Barton House will have to continue paying rent, despite not knowing when they can return home - if at all.

Residents were told to pack a bag of clothes and leave the tower block on Tuesday 14 November, after structural concerns were raised about the building.

Currently, the majority of households are being accommodated at the Holiday Inn, while others have been staying with friends.

Last Thursday, 23 November, it was understood that those staying with friends and relatives would not be asked to pay rent while out of their homes.

However, the council has confirmed that all tenants will need to continue their monthly payments or risk having their benefits recalculated.

A statement from the council said: "Following consideration of the impact on residents and with reference to our own policy and national guidance, tenants will continue to be charged rent to maintain our contractual relationship with tenants.

"Also, if we were to stop charging rent, any tenant of Barton House in receipt of Universal Credit and/or Housing Benefit would see those benefits needing to be recalculated.

"We recognise this approach may cause some concern for residents and recognise there may be people wanting further advice and support.

"Anyone having difficulty paying rent should speak to their Income Officer who can help identify relevant support."

The local authority said it would continue to cover the cost of accommodating people in the Holiday Inn, as well as meals and children's taxis to school.

The statement said: "Households who are currently staying with friends and relatives are also entitled to some additional payments.

"This is to contribute to extra costs people may have, such as food or energy costs, up to a maximum of £50 a night. The amount payable will depend on the household composition."

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