When you can’t pay your rent you fall into arrears. If it continues for more than two months your landlord can begin proceedings to evict you, so it is important to address the problem as soon as you can. There are several steps you can take to help if you are in this position.
During the coronavirus pandemic the government suspended evictions during each lockdown, so check what the current situation is.
Talk to your landlord
In the first instance you should tell your landlord or letting agent about the challenges you are facing. The more open and honest you are the more likely they will be to work with you towards a solution you are happy with.
They may agree to a repayment plan. That means you’ll make smaller payments over a longer period of time. For example if your rent is £500 and you’ve missed one month, you could pay £100 a month for the next five months. You would be paying this on top of your usual rent, so you need to be sure you can afford any plan you agree to.
To help you negotiate a payment plan put together a financial statement. This is a list of all your outgoings and incomings. This will show how much you have left after covering your rent and other living costs, and therefore how much you can contribute to your arrears. If your landlord doesn’t agree to your offer, it will provide evidence to a court that you were trying to find a solution.
If you agree to a plan, put it in writing so all sides know where they stand. In some cases, a landlord may agree to a temporary reduction of rent to help you through a difficult time.
Accessing extra support
Even if you come to an agreement with your landlord you will still need to find a way to pay the negotiated amount.
If you have lost your job or your income has been reduced, you may be eligible for benefits such as Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Jobseekers Allowance and Income Support. You can use sites such as entitledto to find out what help you can access.
If you already receive benefits you can ask for some of your benefits to be paid straight to your landlord to cover any arrears. You can also apply for extra funding.
For example, you could be eligible for a budgeting loan if you’ve been receiving benefits for more than six months. This is a government loan that you can use for one off costs such as paying rent in advance or moving fees. You only pay back what you borrow and repayments are deducted from your benefits. Discretionary housing payments are also available if your benefits are not enough to cover your rent.
Charities such as Turn2Us also offer grants to people in financial difficulty. And there are lots of organisations that will give you free debt and housing advice.
Other options to consider
Do you have friends or family who are able to give you an interest free loan? Although it may be a difficult conversation, close relatives will often be keen to help.
Or, if you have a spare room in your rented house, could you find a lodger to help share the cost? You would need to run this by your landlord, but they’ll probably be happy to accept it if it means their income will be secured.
Even if these options aren’t available to you, it is possible to reduce your expenditure by careful budgeting, you may also be eligible for a council tax discount.
Dealing with debt
Of course, in some circumstances you will find it impossible to cover your rent. If this is the case, avoid taking out a short-term loan if you can. This will only add to your debt problems, especially if you do not have an income to cover the repayments.
As we mentioned above, talking to a debt charity is the best place to start. They will help you assess all your options and find a solution that works for you, these include:
- Debt management plans, which help you repay your debt by making lower monthly payments.
- Debt relief orders, these can be used to write off small debts if you have low income and few assets.
- Individual voluntary arrangements, a form of insolvency that helps you pay off what you can afford.
- Bankruptcy, which writes off all your debt but is likely to result in you losing all your assets.
Working with us
If you own a home but are living in and renting another property, selling to us is an option. Perhaps you had to move for work and couldn’t find a buyer or wanted to upsize your home without committing to a larger mortgage. Or perhaps you are recently divorced and share a property with your former spouse.
In these situations, one quick and simple way to bring financial stability is to sell your home. This will give you the breathing space to continue renting while you decide what to do next.
We can buy your house in just seven days if necessary and once we have agreed on a completion date we always stick to it. Not only will you swiftly have access to funds from the sale, but your mortgage payments will also stop. In addition, we don’t use estate agents so you do not have to pay their fees, and we instruct and pay for solicitors.
Get in touch to find out how we can help you.