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Problems paying rent and debts

The content on this page applies to the Department Infrastructure Public Sector Housing section, although the other housing authorities apply similar rules and guidelines. If in doubt, contact your housing authority.

It is most important that you contact us tel: +44 1624 685955 as soon as you can if you are having problems in paying your rent. We will arrange to discuss the matter with you in private, and will be able to suggest the best methods of clearing any arrears.

Remember that arrears can start off small when the occasional payment is missed but they build up quickly. If your account remains in arrears or if you are a persistent late payer we will take action to recover the rent you owe us. Rent payment should always be at least 1 week in advance.

Please remember, if you are having difficulties paying your rent:

  • speak to a housing officer or contact the Department’s customer service team by telephoning +44 1624 685955, or email Housing
  • get advice, for example, from Citizen’s Advice Service or the Office of Fair Trading, and
  • continue to make regular weekly payments, no matter how small they are

What happens if rent is not paid?

If you find yourself in arrears, or are having problems in making your rent payments we will always be sympathetic to your position, and you should contact us for help and advice as quickly as possible. If you do not pay your rent, members of the customer service team will contact you by letter and/or telephone to request that you clear your arrears and remind you of your obligation to keep your payments up to date.

If you fail to respond or do not make satisfactory arrangements to clear the arrears, you will be sent a final reminder. Failure to respond to this within 7 days will result in a notice to quit and your arrears being referred to our advocates for legal action to repossess your home.

If you have previously been in arrears and have already been through this process, you may automatically get sent a notice to quit. The same could apply if you have failed to keep up payments on any agreement to clear your arrears.

If you do not make arrangements to clear your arrears or they continue to increase we will have no alternative but to take legal action against you and you will be in danger of losing your home. In addition, any legal or administration costs incurred while pursuing our claim against you may also be charged to you.

REMEMBER: Ask for help before your debt gets too large.

We will work with you to help resolve your financial difficulties so that, if at all possible, you do not have to leave your home.

How to deal with other debts

If you are having problems keeping up with other payments or debts, you should get help as quickly as possible. The Office of Fair Trading has a Debt Counselling Service and can be contacted tel: +44 1624 686510.

The Citizen's Advice Service is also available to help tel: +44 1624 626863.

Don’t ignore the problem. The sooner you get help the easier it will be to sort things out.

You can also help yourself by following a few simple steps to work out a budget. Add up all the money you have coming into your home each week or month. Work out over the same period of time all the things you spend your money on. You must make sure that you include all essential items such as food, electricity, gas/oil, rent, and any other regular payments.

Take what you spend away from what you have coming in. The amount left is what you can spend to pay off any other debts.

You can download and print out a budget planner to help you work out your budget (see downloadable documents). It is a handy way to help organise your earnings, outgoings, and work out what you have left over (disposable income).

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