Negotiating over rent arrears

Talk to your landlord and negotiate over rent arrears. You may be able to come to some arrangement to pay the arrears you owe and avoid court action.

Talk to your landlord about rent arrears

Contact your landlord if you are having trouble paying the rent.

Your landlord will notice that you haven't paid your rent and is more likely to take action if you ignore the problem.

Rent arrears are grounds to start legal proceedings for eviction. Your landlord could take you to court to try to evict you and recover any money you owe. 

Keep your landlord informed and try to offer a practical solution. This may delay or prevent your landlord from trying to evict you and it shows you are making an effort to deal with the situation.

Use Shelter's budget calculator to help manage your money.

Respond to rent arrears letters

Always read letters and respond to phone calls if your landlord contacts you about your arrears.

Your landlord may prefer to keep you on as a tenant if the payment problems can be sorted out, as finding a new tenant can be expensive and time-consuming.

Your landlord could start eviction proceedings against you if you don't try to come to an agreement.

If you are able to come to an agreement with your landlord, get it confirmed in writing to avoid any future disagreement about what has been decided.

Make an agreement to pay rent arrears over time

Ask your landlord to let you pay a certain amount each week or month towards your arrears. Try to agree to an amount you can afford.

It is better to make small regular payments than to miss payments because you can't afford it that week or month.

If you claim benefits, you may be able to arrange for a small amount to be deducted from your benefit and paid directly to your landlord.

Whatever you agree with your landlord, get it confirmed in writing or make a note of the date and time of the conversation for your records.

An advice centre may be able to help you work out what you can afford and negotiate with your landlord.

Use Shelter's directory to find a face-to-face advice centre in your area.

Keep your rent money if your landlord won't take it

Get advice if your landlord won't allow you to repay the arrears and tells you that you must leave.

You may still be able to stay. Your rights depend on the type of tenancy you have.

If your landlord refuses to accept your rent, put all the money aside (in a separate bank account if possible). Do not use it for anything else.

Write to your landlord confirming that you are willing to pay off the arrears and keep a copy of your letter. Send this letter by recorded delivery and keep a receipt.

If your landlord takes you to court, you can prove that you were willing to pay back the arrears and that you have the money available. The court may decide that it is not reasonable to evict you.

Use Shelter's directory to find a local adviser if you need further help or advice with rent arrears.

Video: Does being in rent arrears mean eviction?


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