If you’re struggling to pay your rent or have missed payments already, firstly discuss the next steps with your landlord. The landlord can help you in terms of negotiating a different rate in which to pay back what you owe. This could mean you pay less now, and then pay back more when you’re more financially able. In extreme circumstances, the landlord could take you to court and request a money judgement, which will order you to pay the money back.
If the landlord deems that repayment isn’t a valid option, then they may decide to negotiate a reasonable time frame for you to leave the property. Notice periods will vary depending on your landlord.
Depending on which type of council tenant you are, eviction and court orders become more or less easier for agencies to apply for.
Many people have a ‘secure tenancy’. Most people with secure tenancy have been renting their home since 1989. As a secure tenant, you have the right to live in your home as long as you don’t break the rules of your tenancy. The housing association will only remove you from your home as a last resort, and it has to apply for a court order to do so.
However, if you are an introductory tenant or a demoted council tenant (usually due to anti-social behaviour) then you are liable to be evicted from your homes easier.
If you’re getting certain benefits already from the government, you may be able to ask for an amount to be deducted from these benefits and paid directly to your landlord. This is called a Third Party Deduction. Different payments in which a Third Party Deduction (TPD) can be made from are listed below.
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Income-based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
A TPD will mean that the money you owe in terms of Rent Arrears, will be automatically paid off each month along with these payments, so no extra money would need to be paid to your landlord.However, with these payments only usually being small amounts, your landlord can reject the TPD and still ask for larger amounts to be paid.
In some cases, even if you pay off what you owe and no longer have rent arrears, you still can be evicted from your property. This is seen in some types of tenancy such as assured shorthold tenancies.
If you are struggling with rent, there is help available. It’s a serious problem, but that doesn’t mean you are without support, and many people are able to overcome issues with rent payments once they’ve sought the right advice. Further help can be found on all aspects of tenancy and rent arrears at the Citizens Advice Bureau, here.