Payment of rent and service charge is a priority. It is not a choice. Even if you have other debts please make sure that you pay your rent on time.
When you signed your tenancy agreement, you agreed to pay your rent on time. We hope you never experience problems paying your rent but if you do it’s really important that you sort it out straight away. This page explains what happens when you do not pay your rent. It also explains what you should do and what we can do to help you.
If you are on benefits or a low Income you may be able to get Housing Benefit to help you to pay your rent. Housing Benefit is paid by the council but we can help you with the application form.
The most important thing to do is talk to us as soon as you have problems paying your rent. Contact us at the customer service centre and we will discuss your payments with you. You can also use the budget planner and benefit calculator to help you.
Our advisers can also help you to:
- check that you are receiving any Housing Benefit you may be entitled to
- find out if you may be entitled to any other benefits
- get in touch with specialist advice agencies that help in dealing with money management and benefit advice
- refer you to a specialist officer.
If you do not pay off the amount you owe, or speak to us to sort out payments we will serve you with a Notice of Seeking Possession. This is the first step in the legal process for us to recover your home before we apply to the Court.
It is very important to try to avoid being taken to court in the first place. The way to do this is:
- pay the full amount you owe or talk to us. We may agree that you can pay back what you owe in instalments.
- if you claim Housing Benefit it is up to you to make sure that your local council have all the information they need to pay your claim – don’t leave this to chance!
- if you make an arrangement to pay by instalments you must keep to it – if you have any problems paying you must talk to us straight away.
When you go to Court the Judge will listen to what you have to say about why you have not paid. They will also listen to what we have to say. They will then make a decision about what happens next – this is called a Court Order. The Court Order may be for outright possession of your home – this means that we can apply to the court for a warrant to evict you from your home but, the Judge may make a Suspended Possession Order.
The Judge may suspend the possession order as long as you pay your rent, and an amount ordered by the Court to reduce your outstanding arrears.
So what happens if you miss a payment on your Court Order? It is very important that you pay what the Court has ordered you to pay. If you do not keep to the order that is made at Court we can apply to the Court for a warrant. This means that you will be evicted from your home. It may also affect your credit rating. If you are evicted your local council may decide that you have made yourself homeless as a result of your own actions, and will probably not house you until you have paid off your debt. Even after you have been evicted our debt collection agency will contact you to make arrangements to repay the arrears outstanding.
- If you cannot pay off what you owe, contact us straight away.
- Rent should always be your number one priority. Although other bills are important, they shouldn’t come first. You won’t lose your home if you delay paying your other debts.
- Read any letters we send to you.
- Check that you are receiving any Housing Benefit you may be entitled to. Make sure you complete and return Housing Benefit forms sent to you, and let Housing Benefit have any information they need to pay your claim straight away.