If you cannot pay your rent, you have missed rent payments or you are worried that your payments are not being made, sort things out as soon as you can. Even if you have other debts, make sure you deal with your rent arrears first.
Things to do to help you get back on track
- Make a list of all your debts and identify the most important that you need to tackle first such as your rent, council tax, gas, water and electricity charges.
- Write down all your income and expenses and work out a personal household budget to help you decide how much you can afford to pay to each of the people you owe money to.
- Consider seeking advice from a debt advice agency such as National Debtline (see 'Help and advice' below)
- Most importantly, talk to your landlord - try to reach an agreement about paying off the arrears, but do not agree to pay more than you can afford.
Arrears caused by housing benefit problems
Sometimes, rent arrears arise because of problems with claiming and processing housing benefit and other entitlements. If your housing benefit has not been paid, contact the housing benefit service to find out what is happening. There could be a backlog or the council might need more information to deal with your claim - incomplete paperwork will hold up your claim.
Seek advice from your landlord or an independent adviser who may be able to assist you with making a claim. It is very important that you tell your landlord what is going on and keep copies of all correspondence.
Find out more about this and other benefits.