Don't get evicted from your home!
Find out your rights to ensure you don't get evicted, even if you find yourself behind with the rent.
When renting, you can deal with different types of landlord:
- Council and social landlords
Local councils or housing associations can provide housing, and normally offer cheaper rents than private landlords. Most people can apply for a council house but there is a waiting list, with houses allocated using a points system.
The council prioritises vulnerable people, those with children, and the homeless. If the council believes you made yourself intentionally homeless, you may be barred.
- Private landlords
Private landlords charge rents based on area market rates. Most ask for deposits and may want references. You deal directly with them or through a letting agency. An agency may credit check you.
This may affect your ability to rent. You could offer a larger deposit, get a guarantor or supply references from previous landlords.
Whoever you rent from, a fixed amount is usually payable at set monthly intervals. If you miss payments your landlord may evict you.
There are different rules for how and when a landlord can evict you for rent arrears. Usually they must apply for a court order to evict you but sometimes can do so without one. Landlords should only evict as a last resort, and must abide by the terms of your tenancy agreement.
A tenancy agreement is a legal document outlining your rights and your landlord’s obligations. All three landlord types have different agreements giving different rights. If facing eviction, check your agreement to see where you stand, and whether it has been breached.
Dealing with rent arrears
If you miss rent payments, you breach your tenancy agreement, and must act quickly to clear arrears and prevent eviction. You need to pay your regular monthly amount while offering something towards the deficit.
Produce a household budget listing all your income and expenditure, providing for essentials and priority payments first. See our earlier blog posts for tips.
The money left over shows how much you can afford to pay towards your rent arrears. Contact your landlord or letting agent to arrange a mutually agreeable repayment schedule, backed by a copy of your budget as proof of your situation. This will usually stop eviction from happening.
Sources of help?
If you are struggling to pay your rent you may be entitled to Government help. If you have a low income or receive certain benefits you may be able to claim Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance, which may pay all or part of your rent depending on your situation.
To check your benefit entitlement, visit the Entitled To website which includes benefits calculator. CCCS operates a specialist benefits counselling centre as well, for people struggling with debt.
Elizabeth Finn Care gives money to help fund vital necessities for people who have less than £4,000 savings and live on a hand-to-mouth existence.
You could apply for an interest free Jobcentre Plus crisis loan to cover immediate short-term needs, provided you can prove the money prevents serious risk to your health or safety. Potential eviction could qualify you for this.
You should additionally look to increase your income by perhaps getting a second job and selling unwanted property, and reducing your expenditure where needed.
CCCS is contactable by freephone helpline (0800 138 1111), Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, or online via the charity’s web-based counselling service, Debt Remedy.