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Managing rent arrears

It is important to seek advice at an early stage if you are unable to pay your rent as you may be able to keep your home. You need to:

  • address the problem - don't ignore it
  • talk to your landlord
  • prioritise your debts - you should pay your rent first before other debts
  • see what help is available, you may not be receiving all the benefits and tax credits that you are entitled to
  • if you are in rent arrears speak to the Housing Benefit team - you may be able to get your benefit paid directly to your landlord. If you are on Universal Credit, you will need to request Managed Payments
  • work out your monthly income and expenditure
  • contact the local Citizens Advice for specialist support with debts

Please be aware that if you have paid other debts instead of your rent or spent your money on non-essential items, we may not have a duty to help you with long-term housing arrangements and may only be able to provide you with help finding alternative accommodation in the private sector.  

Our Housing Options team can:

  • liaise with your landlord
  • liaise with Housing Benefit, Universal Credit and Council Tax
  • refer you to the local Citizens Advice for specialist support with debts
  • give you advice before going to court
  • work with you to save your home

Rent arrears if you are a tenant of a Housing Association

Housing associations have a duty to support their residents, and there are a number of steps which they will need to undertake, or attempt to undertake, before they can take action against you in court.

As a minimum, they should:

  • offer help when money is owed
  • explain what will happen if you do not pay your rent
  • agree a repayment plan so that debts can be re-paid at an affordable amount
  • make every effort to sort things out before court action is threatened
  • give advice about applying for benefits, either directly using Housing Association staff or through the Citizens Advice
  • give advice on who to contact to help make the most of benefits and help to deal with any other debts
  • tell tenants before they take legal action

If you fail to engage with them, then they will:

  • take action to recover the money that is owed by the tenant, including the legal costs if you don't keep to an agreement
  • evict you as a last resort, and you will still owe the outstanding debt even after you have been evicted

If you are evicted from a social housing, and you have failed to engage with your landlord regarding your rent arrears, it is very likely that we would consider you intentionally homeless.

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