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Paying rent arrears

Paying rent arrears

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If you’ve fallen behind with your rent, don’t hide from the problem as there is help and advice available.

It can be an extremely worrying time when you fall into rent arrears, though the longer you leave it, the worse the problem becomes. It helps if you understand your rights and the correct procedure for repaying what you owe.

Here you’ll find out everything you need to know about how to handle the situation if you are in trouble.

The rental recovery procedure

The first time you miss a payment on your rent, you should receive a warning letter from the landlord. This basically lets you know that the payment is late and gives you contact information so you can discuss the problem. Many people panic when they receive this letter; especially if they are unsure of how they are going to repay it.

As tempting as it is to ignore it, you’ll actually find it a lot easier than you thought if you get in touch with the landlord early. They are a lot more likely to help you find a solution if you keep them up to date with what’s going on.

If the missed rent reaches a certain amount, the landlord can choose to take legal action against you. Each landlord is different so the amount they are willing to let you get into arrears with will vary. Some could threaten legal action after two missed payments, whereas others won’t do it until you’ve missed three or more.

Paying rent arrearsAgain, you will be sent a letter if they choose to take legal action which will explain what will happen if you don’t pay. It will usually include:

  • Retrieving the money you owe through the Magistrates Court
  • Retrieving the money and then evicting you through the Magistrates Court
  • Getting Social Security to take money from your benefits to pay the arrears

It is worth noting that before they decide to take any legal action, the landlord should have visited you at home to talk through the problem.

Repaying arrears voluntarily

The best solution to avoid any additional stress and money worries, is to try to repay the debt voluntarily. This can be done in a number of ways. You can choose to pay it in full, or arrange to pay it back in instalments. You could also pay a lump sum initially and then pay the rest in instalments if you can afford it. Finally you can choose to have repayments taken from your benefits.

Some landlords might not agree to voluntary repayments and they could insist on legal action. This could lead to payments being taken directly from your benefits involuntarily, or you could end up going to court. It is advisable to seek help from a debt charity if you are facing court proceedings. They will be able to talk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

It can be worrying when you start falling behind in your rent but there are workable solutions out there. Don’t be afraid to talk to your landlord to let them know that you are struggling.



About Jemma Porter

About Jemma Porter

Jemma Porter is an experienced content creator who has written for a number of online publications. A self-confessed penny pincher; she's often found seeking out the best personal finance deals.

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