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Rent arrears

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4. Dealing with rent arrears

If you fall behind in paying your rent, you will get into rent arrears. 

If you are struggling to pay your rent, this may be because you have too little money coming in and you could be eligible for additional benefits. There are a variety of benefits that you may be entitled to and we would recommend you get expert advice if your home may become at risk. For further advice and information please contact your local Citizens Advice

Negotiate a payment plan

Although your landlord does not have to accept a repayment plan, he or she may be willing to do this, particularly if you have been a good tenant or the proposal seems realistic and will allow you to pay off the rent arrears.

To negotiate a repayment plan, you should first work out your full monthly income and your necessary monthly expenditure. Be realistic and make sure you allocate enough money to essentials, such as food, travel costs, heating and electricity bills. 

You can also access Citizens Advice online budgeting tool

Once you've worked out your monthly income and expenditure, you should be able to see what is left over at the end of the month. Decide how much of this you can put towards clearing your rent arrears and write to your landlord to see if the proposal is acceptable.

If a money or debt adviser is working on your case, you might want to ask if this person will communicate with the landlord on your behalf.

Tenants who receive housing benefit can apply for a short-term top-up payment, known as a Discretionary Housing Payment, if they are having difficulty paying rent in full each month. As these payments are discretionary, there's no guarantee that you'll get any extra housing benefit or if you do, it is only likely to be for a short period until you can take steps to pay the shortfall yourself or look for more affordable accommodation.

Apply for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

Keep to any payment plan you have made and if you have further difficulties, speak to your landlord.