Understanding your rent payments
What if I don't pay my rent?
The council will always take action to collect outstanding debts. This applies to current and former tenants.
We aim to keep your rent arrears to a minimum by taking action early. This is because the larger the debt gets, the more difficult it becomes to clear it.
If you fall behind with your rent, we will:
- send you a letter letting you know that your rent is overdue
- contact you again, by letter, if you have not contacted us or cleared the debt
You should contact us straightaway if you receive one of these letters.
We can help by:
- allowing you to clear the sum in instalments
- suggesting how to increase your income (for example, by claiming welfare benefits)
- suggesting how you can manage your debts
- advising where you can get independent advice
If you don't contact us:
- We will either telephone or visit you at your home to discuss steps towards clearing the outstanding rent
If an arrangement to pay the outstanding sum has not been reached:
- you will be served a Notice of Seeking Possession. This gives you four weeks to clear your rent account or make an arrangement to do this
- once the four weeks have passed, we can take possession through the courts. This will incur court costs of over £200 that you will have to pay and may result in you being evicted. We will contact your to let you know about the hearing
- we will also serve a notice if you do not make regular payments towards the arrears
Once you have received the date of the hearing:
- we can still help but only if you contact us before the date of the court hearing
- if you have made an agreement and kept to it, we will normally ask the court for a Suspended Possession Order. This means that you will be able to stay in your home if you keep to the terms of the agreement
- if you have not made an arrangement to clear the outstanding rent, then we can ask for possession in 14 or 28 days
After you have attended the hearing:
- if a suspended order is awarded and you fall behind with the payments ordered by the court, you will be given the opportunity to pay any missed payments.
- you will also be asked to attend a meeting if there is someone living with you who is:
- under 18
- disabled or suffering from ill health
- vulnerable for another reason
- the meeting will be with your area housing manager and the senior officer from the income collection team. You will be asked to supply details of income, outgoings and all other debts
We will apply for a warrant to evict you if:
- we have been awarded a 14 or 28-day possession order and you do not clear the rent outstanding in full
- you have not paid for any missed payments and have not contacted us to make arrangements to clear the missed payment.
If we apply for a warrant to evict you, we will write to let you know.
If you become homeless because of the eviction:
- you can apply to any council in the UK as a homeless person.
- if you haven't taken advice from your Area Housing Manager to avoid eviction, you may be intentionally homeless. This means that councils will not have to house you.
If you would like more information, call the housing advice department on 01483 505050 or seek independent advice.