If you do not pay your rent, the total balance owed is known as “rent arrears”. These are a priority debt, which means the consequences of not paying for a considerable amount of time are very severe; there is a very serious risk of eviction.
Rent arrears can be incredibly distressing and it is tempting to bury your head in the sand, but it is important you deal with the problem right away.
What to Do If You Are in Rent Arrears
The first thing you have to do is inform your landlord. They cannot help you if they don’t know about your situation. If you know you will have to miss a payment then warn them beforehand – this will show you are conscious of the situation and are committed to paying it back.
If there are any underlying causes for the missed payments, such as a change in circumstance, then inform your landlord. They may be more forgiving if they understand the payment has not been missed due to something out with your control.
Ask Your Landlord About a Payment Plan
You can ask your landlord if any form of payment plan for settling the balance would be possible. If you can pay a smaller amount for a more extended period, you will eventually pay back everything you owe, but you will have an easier time managing your money while doing it.
If the landlord rejects your offer for a repayment plan, it is a good idea to write down the proposal you were prepared to offer. This means that if the landlord decided to take legal action at a later date, then you can present to the relevant authorities that you did attempt to resolve the situation before that point.
How to Handle an Eviction Notice
It may very well get to the stage where your landlord tries to evict you, and they have that right. However, you also have rights, and an eviction notice doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave your home. It is, however, vital that you respond appropriately.
If you can, you should pay your arrears. If the landlord refuses payment, then keep the money aside. It will be essential throughout the court process as you can show you were trying to meet your commitments.
If you are taken to court, then you will have to argue your case to a judge. If they choose to evict you, then you will be given a final date to leave the property. If you do not vacate the premises by this time, then the landlord can apply for the right to hire bailiffs to remove you from your home.
At no point throughout this process are you beyond help, but at every stage reaching out for help is essential. We have a team of over 25 advisers who help thousands of people every year to keep themselves, and their family, in their own home. Let us add you to the list!
For help in dealing with debt give us a call on 0800 808 5124 or fill in our debt calculator.