It is your responsibility to pay your rent on time and in full, and failure to do so constitutes a serious breach of your contract that, if left unchecked, could lead to legal action and/or loss of your home.
We’re here to help if you’re having problems paying, but we can only help if you make contact with us and try to get your issues resolved. Taking no action is not an option. We will do everything possible to help you keep your home even during times of financial difficulty, but in order to do that, we need you to work with us and do your part. Eviction is always a last resort, but it is a step we are willing and able to take if you make no attempts to cooperate with us and clear your arrears.
If you suspect your account is going to fall into arrears for any reason (perhaps you have recently lost a job, or your housing benefit payments are being recalculated, etc.), you should always let us know. It’s in your best interests to make us aware of any problems as soon as possible, even if it turns out to be a false alarm, to enable us to be prepared.
What Happens If I Do Get Into Arrears?
If your rent account falls into arrears, we will contact you to discuss your situation and any changes in circumstances, and to go through your options for repayment. If you miss a rent payment and we are unable to speak to you, we will begin to move through the stages of our policy for handling arrears, which may ultimately lead to us submitting a possession order through the Courts to take back the property if the arrears continue to increase and are not dealt with.
If you rent account is consistently in arrears for a low amount (less than £200.00), your landlord may decide not to renew your tenancy agreement and you may be asked to leave your home at the end of this term. If your rent account is in arrears for a larger amount without improvement over several months, your landlord may consider legal action, such as submitting a claim for the rent owed, possession of the property, or both.
If you are a tenant claiming housing benefit, we may contact your local authority to request payment be made direct into our accounts instead. In most cases, the local authority will authorize such a request to help decrease your arrears and you will be notified accordingly of the decision directly by them.
If we set up a payment plan with you to gradually pay back your arrears, you need to stick to it. We will try to be reasonable at every opportunity in the amount we ask you to pay back each month, but must also be realistic about our duty as a rent collection agent and to the owner of your property. If you are truly struggling to keep up with the repayment plan, keeping silent and hoping for the best is the worst thing you can do. You should always let us know and see if there is an option to reduce the amount you are required to pay back by a small margin to ease your burdens, but must also be prepared to hear that this is not possible.
In cases where your arrears are not likely to be paid back within a reasonable time frame, your landlord may deem it necessary to serve you with notice to leave the property and of imminent Court proceedings. If you set up a payment plan with our management team, and then subsequently fail to follow through or break your agreement without good reason, we will then formally begin eviction proceedings against you. This could mean you are taken to Court and finally removed from the premises by a bailiff if you do not leave voluntarily.
It is important to note that, even if you are evicted, you are still required to pay back any rent you owe. We will launch a claim for any unpaid rent if you do not make arrangements to clear your arrears voluntarily.
What Help is Available to Me?
Aside from contacting our team to discuss your options, there are several independent organisations available for you to contact for financial advice. Some of them are:
National Debt Line – A helpline for free, confidential advice on how to deal with debt problems.
Consumer Credit Counselling Service – Free and confidential advice on everything from budgeting to practical plans to help manage debt.
Citizen’s Advice Bureau – A service dedicated to helping people sort out their legal, money and other problems by providing free, independent and confidential advice.
If you get into rent arrears and fail to clear the debt or come to an acceptable arrangement for repayment, our landlords reserve the right to take you to Court and seek eviction.
A typical application for eviction will go as follows:
1. You will receive a Notice of Seeking /Requiring Possession or a Notice to Quit.
2. The Courts will then determine a date by which you are required to leave the property.
3. If you do not voluntarily leave the property by this date, we will then apply for a warrant.
4. The Courts will determine a date upon which a bailiff will visit the premises and remove you from the property. Locks will also be changed with immediate effect to prevent re-entry.
Important to Note
The above information is intended as a guide only. Each tenant’s circumstances are different and those circumstances can affect how an eviction is processed and the procedure involved.
We are unfortunately unable to provide you with an estimate of how long each stage will take, as the Courts operate on their own schedule and this is constantly changing due to their workload.