Rent arrears

You have a legal obligation to pay your rent. We offer advice and support to residents having difficulty paying their rent.

When do I start paying rent?

Your tenancy starts on a Monday and you pay a weekly rent in advance every Monday from this date. You can also pay monthly in advance if you wish.

What happens if I’m in arrears?

If you do fall into arrears:

  1. we’ll contact you to let you know
  2. if you don’t clear your account, we’ll inform you that we’re planning to send a notice of seeking possession (NOSP). A NOSP is a notice we send before applying to court to repossess a property
  3. if you get a NOSP, make sure you contact us right away to arrange an interview with you
  4. if you don’t, or your arrears stay the same or increase, we’ll serve you with a NOSP and continue to take action
  5. we’ll normally serve a NOSP even if you’re waiting for the council’s housing benefit office to assess your claim for benefit or decide whether it will pay us the arrears
  6. if you haven’t started to pay off the arrears by the end of the notice period (2-4 weeks depending on your tenancy agreement), we may apply to court for possession of your home.

We will always try to contact you as soon as possible to sort out the situation when your account goes into arrears.

What happens if I receive a court date?

Try to prevent the case going to court by clearing the arrears and pay the court application fee seven days before the hearing date. Before the court date we’ll seek an agreement with you as to how the arrears can be cleared.

If we go to court, we may apply for:

  • Outright Possession Order (usually for extremely high arrears): this is where we ask the judge to make an order for possession to take effect immediately or in 14 or 28 days
  • Postponed Order: this is when the judge makes an order that you will agree to reduce the debt by paying your current rent plus an amount off the arrears. If you break the arrangements, we may be allowed to apply for a bailiff’s warrant to evict you from your home.
  • Adjourned Orders: these are usually granted where there is some question over housing benefit payments, the arrears are low or if you have reached an agreement with us to reduce the arrears

In each case we ask the courts to add the court application costs to the order, to be paid off once you have cleared the arrears.

What happens if I receive an eviction date?

This means we have applied for a warrant for your eviction from the property. This happens when we’ve applied after an Outright Possession Order or you haven’t kept up payments in line with your Postponed Order.

To avoid the eviction, you need to pay all the arrears together with the court costs. If you want to appeal, you must apply to the court to ask for the application for eviction to be set aside. We recommend that you seek independent legal advice.

If you don’t clear your arrears or apply to the court to appeal, the eviction will go ahead on the date given. If you are evicted, we recommend that you seek alternative accommodation or go to the local council’s homeless persons’ unit and say you are homeless.

Effects of having rent arrears

  • Applying for a transfer: If you want a transfer, mutual exchange, or to move under a mobility scheme, rent arrears will reduce your chance of success
  • Getting credit: if we get a county court judgement against you to recover unpaid rent, the judgement may give you a bad credit rating
  • Getting a mortgage: if you hope to buy your home through the HomeBuy scheme or a shared-ownership scheme, the mortgage lender will ask us for a reference. If you have had rent arrears, you will be less likely to get a mortgage to buy your own home
  • Homelessness: if you are evicted as a result of rent arrears, local councils may judge you to be ‘intentionally homeless’. This would mean you would have no right to an offer of temporary accommodation