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Negotiating rent arrears with your landlord

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last updated: 28 May 2016 report a problem

negotiating rent arrears

In this article
• How to negotiate with your landlord
• Where to go for help with managing your money
• Putting things right

If you have breached your tenancy agreement and been issued with a Section 21 eviction notice it may be possible to negotiate with your landlord. By making realistic promises to put things right you might be able to halt proceedings and remain in the property.

Negotiating for rent arrears
Paying rent in full and on time is a tenant’s top priority. Whether your rent arrears are due to financial difficulties or unforeseen circumstances, if you haven’t communicated this to your landlord or made arrangements to catch up on payments, then you are in breach of the tenancy agreement. Rent arrears are easy to prove and the law will back the landlord.

If your Section 21 cites rent arrears as the grounds for eviction, firstly check that amount owing is correct against your own records for payments and ensure everything has been added up correctly.

If you wish to remain in the property because you cannot afford the expenses of moving, then:
• Pay the rent arrears in full. This will probably result in the eviction being overturned. (TTV does not recommend a ‘pay day loan’ to achieve this.)
• Pay back some of the arrears to reduce the amount owed to less than two months’ rent. Discuss with your landlord whether they are willing to accept extra monthly payments to clear the arrears. (Paying rent should be your top priority. Other debts can and should wait – Do not ignore the problem! Speak with your service providers to discuss your situation to avoid being cut off.)
• If you are in arrears because of delays in your housing benefit/universal credit you should inform your landlord. Make sure you have given the council all the necessary information to process your claim. Keep detailed records of any contact with the council when trying to chase up benefit (dates, times, name of people you speak with).
• If housing benefit or universal credit will not cover the arrears, you must make realistic arrangements to clear the debt. If you can prove your ability to keep to the arrangement, you are far more likely to halt the eviction.

Managing your money
Whether you need help with money saving ideas, advice on money matters or are looking for ways to budget better, Shelter’s action planners and budget calculator will help you organise your money, understand where your money goes, how best to deal with any shortfalls and how you can save:

You can also seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau:

This article is provided as a guide. The Tenants’ Voice is NOT a legal advice specialist site and our content authors are NOT housing law specialists.

The Tenants’ Voice advises that tenants act courteously and reasonably in all communications and dealings with regard to a tenancy but if you suspect you are experiencing an infringement of your rights that you seek advice and support from a regulated professional. The Tenants’ Voice recommends Shelter 0808 800 4444

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