If you have failed to pay your rent payments and a balance is owed to your landlord, this is known as rent arrears. Rent is a priority bill that needs to be paid, so being behind on these payments could cause you serious consequences and you may get evicted. In this situation, you need to act quickly rather than ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away.
Firstly, you should contact your landlord. They are likely to be more understanding if you show them that you are trying your hardest to resolve the problem.
As with all debts, it’s important that you work out a realistic budget that you can stick to. It’s also important that when making an agreement with your landlord, you don’t try and pay back more than you can actually afford. It will work out better in the long run if you pay back the arrear in smaller instalments over time.
If you’re struggling with your rent due to low income or you’re already on benefits, then you might be entitled to extra support through housing benefit. It’s also possible to get this backdated for up to six months if you qualify for the benefit and have a good reason for not applying earlier, so it is definitely worth looking into.
Can universal credit pay my rent arrears?
It’s often thought that when it comes to Universal Credit and your rent, you’re on your own – but this isn’t completely true. In fact, if you are struggling with your rent payments, then it can be possible for either you or your landlord to ask for an alternative payment arrangement or APA. An APA involves direct payments, and it means that your rent will be paid directly to your landlord which then allows you to sort out paying your arrears.
Equally, this can also be done the other way round. Meaning deductions can be taken from your Universal credit towards your arrears, so you only have to focus on paying your current rent.
Will the council house me with arrears?
This depends on the council, but mostly, they won’t let you apply if you still have arrears on a previous property. However, in many other situations dealing rent arrears from another property can be viewed as non-priority as you cannot be evicted for this reason, even if it’s the same landlord. The only exception to this is if court action has been taken against you for the balance owed.
If you’re having problems paying your rent arrears, the best thing to do is to get in contact with us. Our expert money advisors can tell you about all of the debt solution plans available to you. All of our advice is free of charge, impartial, and 100% confidential.