If you are unable to pay your rent, you have missed rent payments or you are worried your payments are not being made, sort things out as soon as you can. Rent arrears are "priority debts" which means the consquences of not dealing with them could end up in you losing your home. This may cause you difficulties in gaining a home in the future.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent you from losing your home and getting into rent arrears, for example:
- Write down all your income and outgoings, then you should be able to see how much you have got to pay your debts
- If your income has changed, you may qualify for benefits that would help your financial problems. For example, Tax Credits, Council Tax and Housing Benefit.
- Work out how much you can reasonably afford to pay each company or person you owe money to
- Make a list of all your debts and put them in order of "priority"
- Consider seeking free and impartial advice from independent debt advice agencies such as the CAB
- Talk to your landlord to try and reach an agreement about paying off the arrears. Be realistic, do not agree to pay more than you can afford.
- If you are a council or housing association tenant, they will have a policy about how they collect rent arrears. Speak to your housing officer who will be able to discuss your rent account with you and make an agreement that you will be able to afford
Arrears caused by Housing Benefit problems
Sometimes, rent arrears can happen as a result of problems with your Housing Benefit claim. If you have applied for Housing Benefit and it has not been paid, usually, this is because they are waiting for evidence such as identification, benefits and address. The Housing Benefit department will write to you requesting you send the information for processing . A delay in sending back the information can result in a hold up of your claim. Do seek advice from Housing Benefit, Shelter and others who may be able to help you make a claim to help you remain in your home. Keep your landlord informed and keep any correspondence you receive from Housing Benefit.
What can happen if you do not pay your rent?
If your landlord wants to evict you because of rent arrears they have a right to seek a court order to evict you. The rules about when and how a landlord can evict you for rent arrears change according to the type of tenancy you have. In most caes, your landlord will have to serve written notice on you before they get a court order from our Homeless Team on 01978 292947 / 01978 292949 / 01978 292937 immediately for assistance; alternatively you can contact an independent advice service, for example Shelter Cymru