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Arrears Prevention

Online ContactEmail: Housing Rents

Tel: 023 8028 5222

Arrears are what you owe in unpaid rent and service charges. Rent arrears are caused by

  • late payments
  • missed payments
  • part-payments that do not cover the rent and service charges that are due
  • payments covering only four weeks each month. This will amount to just 48 weeks for the year and not the full 52 weeks actually due during the year

What should I do if I have rent arrears?

Do's and Don'ts!

  • don't ignore your arrears
  • don't ignore letters from the council
  • do read any letters in full and comply with what they are asking you to do
  • do contact us immediately if you have problems paying your rent or service charges

When you took on the tenancy of your home, you signed a tenancy agreement that stated rent is due in advance. So you need to pay your arrears as quickly as possible; ideally in one payment in order to clear the whole amount, in order to keep to this agreement that you made.

However, we realise this is not always possible. If you cannot clear your arrears immediately and in full, you should contact us to make an agreement to repay the money you owe. This agreement should be at a level that you can afford.

If you know you are going to have difficulty paying your rent or keeping to your agreement, you should contact us immediately as we may be able to help. If you do have problems, you should keep us informed.

Remember the don'ts above - don't ignore your arrears and don't ignore any letters from us. Ignoring your arrears may result in you losing your home.

What should I do if I think there is a mistake on my rent account?

If you think there has been a mistake, you should contact us. We will be able to examine your rent account and sort out any problems. If a payment you made is not showing on your account, you will need to bring (or send) your receipt into the office so we can ensure that the correct amount is put onto your account.

What should I do if I am waiting for Housing Benefit to be paid?

You should tell us if

  • you have made a claim for Housing Benefit (HB)
  • you have notified the tax and benefits office of a change in circumstances
  • you are waiting for HB to be paid to you

HB claims are usually processed within two weeks of the HB office receiving all your information. Therefore it is your responsibility to ensure you reply to requests for information as soon as possible.

You need to ensure you provide the tax and benefits office with all the information they need so that your claim can be processed - failing to do this will mean HB will not be paid. If you have problems getting the information you must contact the tax and benefits office to tell them and they will give advice to you.

We will not usually take legal action against you if we know that you are waiting for a claim to be processed and if you are making payments towards the rent and charges that are due.

Remember that HB will not pay for domestic utilities (electricity, gas, water, sewerage) if this is included in your rent. You will still have to pay this yourself even if you are in receipt of housing benefit that covers your rent in full.

What should I do if I cannot pay my rent?

If you are having difficulty paying your rent, you should contact us as soon as possible. We may be able to help or refer you to the local Welfare Benefit Advisor or other agency. The Welfare Benefit Advisor can advise you on available benefits and how you can make the most of your income.

You can also get advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau.

If you do have problems, please contact us before we start taking legal action against you. If we don't know there is a problem, we can't help you. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

What will the council do if I do not clear my arrears?

If you do not clear your arrears, we will take legal action to recover your debt. We will do this as the last course of action. Our first step will be to visit you to discuss your arrears, and to make an agreement. If you do not keep to your agreement, or clear your arrears, we will serve a Notice of Seeking Possession on you. This is a legal notice telling you that we intend to take legal action if you do not pay your arrears.

The Notice of Seeking Possession is the first step to you losing your home. We will contact you when we serve this notice to discuss your case.  If you are not available at home, we will invite you in for an interview.

If we do ask you to come in for an interview, please do so as it is for your benefit. If you cannot attend on the interview date, please contact us to arrange another time.

What happens if I am a joint tenant and one of us leaves the property?

As joint tenants, you are both responsible for the property and for the payment of rent.


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Updated: 4 Sep 2018
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