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I am in rent arrears. What do I do next?

So, you have found yourself owing hundreds or possibly thousands in unpaid rent. A million and one things might be going around in your head and with no idea where to turn next.

Firstly, there are steps you can take to address the situation. Even if an eviction notice has been issued, you could find that your landlord may still be open to discussion. This might include a plan to repay the arrears to the landlord. If there are reasons why payments have been missed, an explanation will be necessary, even if the arrears have only occurred once.

Discussing arrears with your landlord might seem daunting, but if you prepare for the conversation beforehand, you may find that you are able to get your point across without too much difficulty.

Here are some steps you can take to prepare before meeting your landlord:

  • Speak with a Debt Advisor who will be best placed to offer free and impartial debt advice. This will enable you to gain a firm understanding of what options are available to you. Turn2us and StepChange are both able to help.
  • Check entitlement to benefits. There are calculators online that may be able to help you but these are not always accurate, so check any estimated entitlements with the DWP.
  • Check if you can pay any housing benefits straight to the landlord.
  • Check if any of your benefits can have deductions for rent arrears.
  • Apply for DHP (discretionary housing payment). Please see this link for help applying for DHP.
  • Contact Breathing Space who may be able to pause an eviction process for 60 days.
  • Use a budgeting tool to help work out your weekly or monthly budget. This one from Money Helper allows you to save and amend your budget, as well as see where your expenditure is going.
  • Check if you can receive additional support on utility bills, like gas and electricity. Turn2us have a grant search, which allows you to look for support with utility bills.

The most important step you can take is to ensure you communicate with your landlord, including outlining all the steps that you have taken for help in reducing your debt.

Nottingham City Council are also able to help. NPRAS may be able to provide financial assistance for those households who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the Nottingham City area. Contact us on 0115 8763300 and select option 3 if you want to talk about your rent arrears.

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