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Admittedly, there are times that we struggle financially – be left without a job, experience a medical emergency, be a victim of theft or crime. All of those can eat away your rent money and cause you to miss paying your landlord.
So what do you do when you miss rent? It’s a very serious situation and one should not take lightly.
However, there are some options for you:
Take note of the tenancy agreement
Rent is the most important thing for a landlord.
For those who are new to renting, always ask if the rent includes everything: electricity, water, gas, TV, broadband, etc. Take note that some owners do not include everything in the rent, so you must account for all other utilities and adjust your monthly budget.
Typically, landlords will ask for a security deposit at the start of the tenancy. This is limited to 5 weeks worth of rent and the landlord is required to protect it in a government-authorized scheme.
Upon the conclusion of your tenancy, your landlord is obliged to return the money, unless there are deductions due to missing rent, utilities or damage to the property.
So, in a way, tenants do have the option to miss paying rent for one month by surrendering their tenancy deposit.
However, don’t rely on this option, unless as a last resort. If you cover one month worth of rent with your deposit and also cause additional damage, your landlord will be chasing you down for more money.
Additionally, you will receive a poor reference, which will limit your ability to search for rented properties in the private sector.
Talking to your Landlord
Always notify your landlord if you can’t pay on time or you’ll miss rent. Informing your landlord prevents any bad will and misunderstanding to build up.
Granted that this is the first time you missed rent, you should always go and talk to your landlord. As a good and honest paying renter, landlords will take into consideration your past payments that were made on time. An experienced landlord will help you come up with a doable payment plan that can help you pay off the rent.
Just be sure that your landlord has the upper hand when it comes to the terms. Be mindful that some landlords can play around and cost you more money.
Always discuss terms with your landlord politely and professionally, but don’t be afraid to say no and seek alternative solutions.
Opening your Emergency Funds
Given that you have a dependable backup, you can always use your emergency funds when you miss rent.
Outside of your health, there’s hardly a more urgent matter than paying your rent, so if you’ve got money on the side, don’t hesitate to use them..
Would you rather be evicted and possibly face charges instead of breaking open that emergency fund? You don’t.
As with any other backup fund, always be sure to replenish the money first chance you get, even if you have to fold your expenses for the next few months. That way, you’ll guarantee you have funds next time there are problems and will have peace of mind for the future.
Friends and family
It’s always difficult to ask for help. A month’s worth of rent is usually a substantial sum and nobody wants to burden their close ones or admit they can’t handle the situation.
However, sometimes we just need a small nudge to get us out of the pit.
If your friends or family can afford to help you without switching places and causing a bunch of problems for themselves, it is always the least damaging option. You can pay them back with no interest and less pressure.
Getting a loan
Of course, there is always the option to get a loan or credit of some sort. However, this decision must always follow careful consideration of the pros on cons.
While it will provide funds to meet your immediate needs, you will face increased financial burden later on, and if your financial situation is not stable, a loan may cause further disruption in your life.
Universal Credit Advance
If you are receiving Universal Credit – the replacement for housing benefits, job-seeker allowance or another type of financial aid from the government – then you can opt for a Universal Credit Advance.
This type of loan enables you to get money if you don’t have enough funds while waiting for your first paycheck or if you’re still looking for a job. You can contact the Universal Credit helpline by calling 0800 328 5644.
You can also apply for a personal loan at a bank or from a certified lending company. Most personal loans are given at low-interest rates and often have programs and payment schemes to help you pay off that loan. The only thing that’s difficult in applying for a personal loan is that you need to have a good credit score.
The three major CRAs or Credit Referencing Agencies evaluate credit score differently:
- A good Experian score is at 700 while 800 is considered exceptional.
- For Noddle, you need a score of 3+ on their 1-5 scale.
- Equifax considers a score of 660+ to be good.
Having a good credit score with all the major CRAs can enable you to get a better chance of having better rates and lower interests.
There is also the FICO score, which is the most commonly used criteria, as it provides a simple number for creditors to evaluate. See how is FICO score calculated.
Important: Always evaluate how a loan will affect your finances in the future! If you’re not able to meet rent this month, can you meet rent next month AND make a payment on your loan? What about the month after that?
Going for Charities
Resorting to charities if often conflicting with our egos. But really, if you can’t pay your rent and you can’t afford to take a loan or nobody is willing to give you one, how will your ego keep the roof over your head?
Groups like the Salvation Army can help you by granting you financial assistance. Go to your local charity and apply for the support you need. Charitable institutions often offer loans for those who have low wage incomes and for those who are in a financial crisis.
Before being considered for an emergency grant, you should have proof of your financial difficulties. When you get approved for a loan, they will work with you to pay it off at zero interest rates and can even work a payment plan to help you pay your loan.
When it comes to missing rent, you can do a lot of things to help you pay it off. For starters, don’t forget that you made a deposit when you first moved in. Spending your emergency funds, opting for a charity, or applying for a Universal Credit Advance, budgeting advance, crisis loan, etc. can all help you with your rent if you are financially struggling.
However, always evaluate your situation and how accepting money from a 3rd party will affect your situation in the near future.
Again, talking with your landlord is very important as they can take into consideration your past payments made and can work with you on a payment plan. Communicating with your landlord due to missing rent prevents bad will from stirring up.
This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our category.
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