Rent Arrears

If you fall behind with your rent, it is important that you take steps to contact your landlord, council or housing association and try to negotiate affordable repayments.  Failure to deal with rent arrears may result in you being evicted from your home.

It is a good idea to look through your tenants’ handbook/tenancy manual that should explain how to pay your rent and what to do and what will happen if you have rent arrears.  Local authority, housing associations and other registered social landlords should have given you a copy of the handbook/manual at the start of your tenancy.  If you do not have a copy of this, ask for a copy to make sure that your landlord is following the correct procedures.

My Landlord says I am going to be evicted, what can I do?

If your landlord is evicting you because you are in arrears with your rent, there are certain rules about the procedure and processes your landlord has to go through.  However, the rules and regulations will also depend on the type of tenancy you have.

In most cases a landlord before they can evict you would have to serve a special notice on you before they can actually apply for an eviction order from the court.  If you are served with an eviction notice you should seek advice from citizens advice or an experienced housing adviser.

If you are in a council house or one owned by a housing association, the landlord has to follow certain steps before they can apply to the court for an eviction notice.  The landlord in this occasion may meet with you and agree a formal repayment plan that you can afford and in some cases may even help you claim housing benefit, if you are entitled.

I have made an application for housing benefit, it’s not my fault I am in arrears?

If you have submitted a housing benefit claim that has not been sorted out, your landlord is not allowed to start court action to evict you.  Although there are certain conditions that will have to be met.

It is the local authorities decision when and how to pay your housing benefit.  However, you are in arrears because of the way your housing benefit is being paid, it is up to you to get in touch with your local authority and explain the problem to them.

Local authorities are meant to take into account your circumstances and needs as well as the convenience of your landlord in the way that it organises payments.

The important rule is, don’t ignore any rent arrears speak to your landlord as soon as you can, the sooner the better and where rent arrears are accumulating as a result of the way your housing benefit is being paid speak to your local housing benefit office, explain the situation to them.  If you don’t tell anyone, you can’t get help.

If you have been served with an eviction notice and don’t know where to turn, why not go into to your citizen’s advice office and speak to someone.  You can find your local branch in the telephone book under ‘C’.