Rent arrears occur when you don’t pay all or some of the rent you owe your landlord. This often occurs when you get into financial difficulty due to a loss of hours or your job, a delay or problem with your housing benefit claim or relationship breakdown.
It is important that you address the problem that is causing the arrears as soon as possible by seeking advice on your options. Most of the time it is possible to sort out the problem and pay off any existing arrears, but you must act quickly. The longer your financial problems continue, the higher the rent arrears will build up making it harder for you to pay off.
Also the higher your arrears get the more likely your landlord will consider action to evict you from the property. A landlord when taking action is doing so to protect the investment they have made, they will consider your arrears as a threat to their financial position and as a breach of tenancy. Although a lot of landlords will try and be as helpful and sympathetic as possible it is worth considering your rent as a priority payment because of the risk of action from your landlord.
What Can I do?
It is important to work out what has caused the problem and how to adapt the current circumstances you find yourself in. Housing benefit problems can be a cause of rent arrears and will usually occur when, your claim has been suspended due to a change of circumstances or a pause in another related qualifying benefit. This is why it is important to keep the Housing benefit department up to date with all changes in your circumstances, and keeping involved in the claim until the changes have been resolved. Don’t wait until a problem gets worse, respond to letters you receive from Housing Benefit or if letters about a change in your income based benefits which may have an effect on your Housing Benefit entitlement.
How Can I Prevent Rent Arrears?
If you claim Housing Benefit or council tax benefit and your circumstances have changed making you worse off, then you may be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment which could be a one off or a number of payments as well as the Housing Benefit you get. This is discretionary and not an entitlement, and does not pay rent arrears but the purpose of these payments are for short periods of time to assist households who have been subject to an income shock and are in housing need. The Housing Options Team can help you apply or you can apply direct to Housing Benefit direct, Shelter Guide: Rent arrears How to cope with rent arrears
I’m a tenant of The Gateshead Housing Company, what can I do?
If you are a tenant of The Gateshead Housing Company and need advice regarding your rent contact them on: