Managing rent arrears
If you fall into arrears with your rent we will usually contact you within one week to talk about how you can make up the missed payments. If necessary, we can arrange for an affordable repayment plan to be put in place so that you can repay the arrears through instalments. We can also give you advice on claiming benefits and let you know where you can go to seek help if you have multiple debt problems.
Find out where you can get debt and money advice
Providing your arrears are paid, no further action will be taken. If you have any further difficulty paying your rent, or if your personal circumstances change, you should contact us as soon as possible to let us know.
Prevention of arrears
We will always work with tenants to overcome any financial problems they may have, assist them with claiming benefits and give advice about debt agencies, in order to help prevent tenants falling into arrears. By aiming to reduce debt problems we hope to assist our tenants to maintain a better lifestyle for themselves and their families. It also means that we can repair and improve council housing, using the income from rents and arrears we recover.
We will only consider taking legal action if you do not keep to agreed repayment plans and do not work with us to reduce outstanding arrears.
The first stage in the legal procedure is to serve a notice of seeking possession or a notice of possession proceedings. If you are served with a notice you should contact your housing officer immediately to make arrangements to pay your arrears.
If the arrears have not improved after four weeks we have the option to start court proceedings. We always advise tenants, in writing, if we are considering this course of action and we will also let you know if a court referral has been made. Housing officers will also try to contact you before we take court action. If you are told you have been referred to court you must contact your housing officer immediately.
If a case results in a court referral, the judge may make an order for possession of the property, which usually includes an order to repay the money you owe. If a court order is made, court costs will be added to your rent account. No further action will be taken providing you keep to the court order.
Eviction is only considered as a last resort when all attempts to recover rent arrears have failed. The court will issue a warrant for eviction only after a court order has been breached. Even if an eviction warrant has been granted, you may ask the court to suspend the warrant. The judge will consider this request, after discussing the circumstances with you and the council’s legal representative. If a suspension is granted by the court, a new court order will be made for repayment of the debt. If this order is also breached a new warrant for eviction will be requested.