It is important that you pay your rent on time. It doesn't take long to fall into arrears, but it can take a long time to get straight again.
If your rent is not paid, the money owed is called 'rent arrears'. Rent arrears are 'priority debts', which mean the consequences of not dealing with them are serious - there is a risk of eviction.
We are committed to supporting you to take control of your finances and keep on top of your rent. We can make referrals to other agencies for advice to help you keep your tenancy and prevent homelessness.
What should I do if I miss a payment?
If you fall into arrears or know that you will find it difficult to pay, let us know immediately. It is important that you speak to us as soon as possible.
We will give you confidential support and a range of help including:
- Benefit entitlements.
- Housing Benefit / Universal Credit claims.
- Making a payment plan with you to clear the arrears.
- Money management advice or referrals to specialist debt advice agencies.
What happens if I fall behind with my rent?
Our income team will contact you and take action if you fall into rent arrears which could ultimately result in the loss of your home.
1. Notice of Seeking Possession
If your rent arrears total more than 4 weeks-worth of payments, and you have not been in touch with us to discuss the reason(s) why or to arrange a suitable repayment plan, we will write to you.
This letter will include:
- When you need to have paid your arrears by;
- A potential tenancy end date, if applicable. (The amount of notice given will depend on the amount you owe); and
- A copy of a legal notice known as a ‘Notice of Seeking Possession’.
2. Court hearing
If you still do not pay, or arrange a suitable repayment plan with us, there will be a hearing at the county court. The court will make a court order for possession and you will have to pay court costs as well as the rent arrears.
If you don't follow the county court order to pay, we will request a warrant to evict you. You will have to pay the cost of the warrant fee. The county court bailiff will carry out the eviction. You must still pay the arrears owed and your name will be entered in the list of county court judgments which may prevent you from getting credit and other services.
Why have I received a rent statement?
You will receive a rent statement once a year – usually in May/June. It is a reminder to make sure your account is in credit. During this time, we also contact all our tenants in arrears.
I am a monthly payer - why have I received an arrears letter?
Your rent is due weekly in advance so if you choose to pay your rent monthly you should make sure that your account is one month in credit to keep in line with the terms of your tenancy agreement. We appreciate that this may be difficult, however, if you can just pay a little extra each month to bring your account into credit this will really help.
Leaving your home while in arrears
We always pursue tenants who have left their home with rent arrears and other debts and your priority on your council’s housing register will be affected if you leave your home owing rent arrears, court costs or recharged repair accounts.