You may be able to arrange to pay the arrears you owe and avoid court action if you talk to your landlord and negotiate over rent arrears.
Talk to your landlord about rent arrears
Contact your landlord if you are having problems paying your rent.
Try to offer a practical solution. This may delay or prevent your landlord trying to evict you. It shows you are making an effort to deal with the situation.
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.
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 as a tenant if the payment problems can be sorted out.
If you come to an agreement with your landlord, get this confirmed in writing to avoid any future disagreement about what has been decided.
Your landlord could start eviction proceedings against you if you don't try to come to an agreement.
Agree rent arrears payments
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 to make one 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
If your landlord refuses to accept rent
If your landlord refuses to accept your rent, put all the money aside, in a separate bank account if possible. Do not use this money for anything else.
Write to your landlord confirming that you are willing to pay off the arrears. 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.
If you are threatened with eviction for rent arrears
Get advice if your landlord tells you that you must leave.
You may still be able to stay. Your rights depend on the type of tenancy you have.
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?
Last updated 28 Oct 2014 | © Shelter
Still need help?
If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help