TENANTS who risk losing their homes are warned that they could land a big legal bill if they fall into arrears and face eviction.

Halton Housing Trust warns residents that new government regulations have more than doubled the cost of prosecution charges.

County court fees for a rent arrears possession case have risen from £100 to £250 and a standard eviction from £175 to £280.

Landlords who take customers to court normally foot the bill for these charges initially, but these are then recovered from the customer if the landlord wins the case.

The Trust is urging all tenants who are struggling with their rent, rent arrears or any other debt problems to seek help and advice from their welfare money advice officers.

Last year, 46 residents were evicted due to not paying their rent after refusing any help and support from the trust.

Maureen Forshaw, income recovery manager said: “The last thing the trust wants is to evict customers for non-payment of rent but unfortunately this is sometimes the case when customers refuse to pay their rent.

“We have a great team here ready to provide expert help and support and we would strongly recommend seeking their advice. If you are struggling to pay your rent, other bills or are having difficulty managing your benefits the worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand, we are here to help, so please contact us.”

The Trust is urging tenants not to suffer in silence.

Their supportive team is ready to help tenants with any problems they may be facing.

To seek advice, call the welfare benefit money advice officers on 0151 510 5024 or e-mail welfare@haltonhousing.org.