Help with rent arrears and problems with paying your rent

Money Advice Service

If you cannot pay your rent, don’t ignore the problem. Talk to your landlord as soon as possible. Whether the problem is caused by a change of circumstances, a budgeting difficulty, or a cut in benefits, you can take some important steps you can take to help get yourself back in control and avoid eviction.

Talk to your landlord

It’s understandable you might be afraid of telling your landlord or agent you’re going to be late with the rent.

But it’s far better to get the issue out in the open before you actually fail to pay up.

When you speak to your landlord:

  • explain why you’re going to be late with the rent and ask for some extra time
  • be clear about what you’re doing to address the problem to help ensure it won’t happen again.

Read on to find out what you can do to get back in control.

You’ll also find links to sources of free help and advice.

Identify the problem and work out a plan

In some cases, it’ll be obvious why you have a problem.

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Perhaps your income or expenses have suddenly changed for the worse.

For example, because you’ve lost your job or your partner has moved out and stopped contributing to the rent.

In other cases, it might simply be you’re living beyond your means. Either way, you’ll need a plan.

Being repeatedly late with your rent could lead to eviction and a bad reference from your landlord.

Which will make it difficult for you to find another property to rent.

Your landlord could also withhold some of the deposit to cover underpaid rent if you still owe money when you move out.

Your two-step plan

  1. Use our Budget planner to work out the shortfall between your monthly income and your expenses.
  2. Look at ways you can cut back or boost your monthly income to close the gap – see the later sections in this guide.

However, if it’s likely to be a long-term problem, seeking help right away might be the best solution. Before matters get out of control.

See later in this guide for organisations who can help you.

Reducing your monthly expenses

Use our Quick cash finder to see where you can cut back on things you buy regularly.

Cutting back can be difficult, but it won’t be as painful as being evicted from your home.

Which is why it is vital you act now.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • can you ditch any of your regular monthly expenses or cut back on any luxuries?
  • are you on the cheapest tariff for all your monthly bills?
  • if you have credit card debt, can you switch to a 0% credit card and save yourself some interest payments?
  • are you spending too much on going out or new clothes? It’s far more important to be able to pay the rent?

Boosting your current income through benefits

If your circumstances have changed and your income has fallen as a result, you might be able to claim benefits to help you pay your rent, such as Housing Benefit.

You might also be able to get help with your Council Tax.

If your benefits have been cut, perhaps as a result of the benefit cap or because you’re classed as ‘under occupying’ your home – you can apply to your council for help.

They’ll have a pot of money available for what’s known as ‘Discretionary Housing Payments’.

This year the Government has increased the funding for Discretionary Housing Payments to help people affected by Housing Benefit changes.

Where to get free help and advice

If you want to talk to someone about how to deal with your landlord, you can call Shelter or the Citizens Advice Bureau, or Housing Advice NI in Northern Ireland.

These organisations will also be able to talk to you about what entitlements you might be able to claim to help pay your rent if you’re on a low income.

If you’re already in arrears with your rent or are struggling with debts, talk to a debt adviser as soon as possible.

You don’t have to worry alone.

If you’re being threatened with eviction

If you’re being threatened with eviction as a result of rent arrears, follow the links below to check your options and rights:

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

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Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
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We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

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