What do I need to know?
If you fall behind paying your rent, don’t bury your head in the sand. Act quickly to stop problems getting worse.
Contact your landlord as soon as possible and explain that you are struggling. If your landlord knows what the problem is they are more likely to be sympathetic to you.
If you don’t pay your rent you could be evicted and/or have a county court judgment made against you.
Find Out More
1. Find out exactly how much you owe. Check with your landlord how much they think you owe, ask for a statement of your rent account and check it against any of your own records (online bank statement etc.)
2. Work out how much you can afford to pay. Use an online budget planner to help you.
3. Explain to your landlord why you have fallen behind with your rent. If you are waiting for a benefit claim to be sorted make sure you tell them. They might be able to help you get things sped up.
4. Try and come to an agreement with your landlord for a repayment plan. Always make sure you can afford what you agree. Make sure any agreement is in writing and ideally signed by you both. Save any emails or texts.
5. Stick to any agreement that you make with your landlord. If you think you are going to have problems contact them straight away.
If you rent from the council or a housing association, they should have a policy for dealing with rent arrears. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help – they should be able to help with benefit problems and budgeting.
If your landlord won’t accept a repayment plan, it’s a good idea to pay what you have offered anyway. This could make a difference if your landlord decides to start court action to evict you.
Make sure you get a receipt for any payments that you make, and save any emails or messages between you and your landlord or agent.
Rent arrears can build up if you are not claiming all the benefits that you are entitled to. If you are on a low income you might be able to claim housing benefit or universal credit housing costs to help pay your rent. Check what benefits you can claim on the entitledto site.
If you are already receiving housing benefit or universal credit housing costs you may be able to apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) to help pay any shortfall. A DHP is an extra payment made for a short period of time to help people who are struggling to pay their rent.
It is possible for money to be taken directly from some benefits to repay rent arrears. These are called third party deductions. To find out about having deductions taken from your universal credit click here.
Every council deals with their claims for DHPs differently but, wherever you apply, you will probably have to fill in a claim form.
To find your local council and how to claim a DHP in your area, please enter your postcode in the box to the right of this page and click the find button.
If you do not know your postcode, click here.
Apply for a DHP
To find your local council and how to claim a DHP in your area, please enter your postcode in the box below and click the find button.