One of the most common forms of debt that tenants can experience is rent arrears.
When you sign your tenancy you enter into an agreement with us as your landlord to pay your rent on time and maintain a clear rent account.
Rent arrears are considered a ‘priority debt’ which means that if you don’t take action to deal with them, over time it could result in you losing your home - or being evicted.
If you are evicted due to rent arrears, you will normally be considered as having made yourself intentionally homeless. This could then affect your chance of being re-housed by another social landlord (council or housing association).
Reasons for rent arrears
There are many reasons why people fall behind with their rent payments. This can be due to a number of factors, some examples may include:
- losing your job and finding it hard to find new work
- being on a temporary or zero-hours contract
- a partner moving out and no longer contributing towards the rent
- a change in your physical or mental health
- spending more than you earn on non-essentials
- being in debt on loans, credit cards, catalogues, or to illegal money lenders (also known as loan sharks)
Whatever your circumstance, if you find that you have fallen behind with your rent the most important thing to do is to talk to us as soon as possible.
How we can help
We want to support and help you if you are having financial difficulties, so speaking to us is an essential part of this. Your Housing Manager can work with you to find a solution to your rent arrears.
Your Housing Manager can:
- set up and agree on a payment plan with you that will be more manageable for you in order to clear your arrears
- make referrals to other organisations that can provide you with financial support
- look at ways to help you maximise your income, for example, you may be entitled to claim certain benefits that you didn’t know about.
Other means of help and advice
- Visit the Citizens Advice website which has advice on dealing with rent arrears
- Drop in to the One Stop Shop at Hill House on the first Thursday of every month to speak to welfare advisers from Sutton Council
- If you are a leaseholder struggling with debt or service charges please see our page on service charge and mortgage arrears for more information about how we can help you.