A landlord company in Bristol has sent out a Christmas message to its tenants to remind them not to defer their rental payments over the festive period.

Jephson Housing Association delivered the "veiled threat"of action to tenants at more than 250 homes in a bid to help reduce rental arrears, according to the Bristol Evening Post.

The message warned them not to overspend on Christmas gifts and parties, and claimed that tenants could face the boot if they are unable to pay their rent.

Jephson later apologised for the "bad taste"cards, which featured the lines: "Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, please make sure you pay your rent, so in your home you'll stay".

Tenants claimed that the message was "not very Christmassy", accusing the landlord of "acting like Scrooge".

Mark Thomas, a spokesman for Jephson, admitted that the cards were "not appropriate"and said that the agency had since sent out letters of apology.

The Association of Residential Lettings Agents warned recently that landlords should take steps to "manage their risk"as rising unemployment and tightening credit threaten to leave tenants unable to pay rents.ADNFCR-2002-ID-18933962-ADNFCR

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