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Rent payments

If you’re renting your accommodation you have to make regular payments for it to your landlord or their agent.

Falling behind with rent payments is known as being in rent arrears. Rent payments are a priority obligation, which means that the consequences of non-payment are more severe than for non-priority payments. Anyone repeatedly not paying their rent may be evicted from their home.

Things can happen fast so it’s best to take action soonest. Start by explaining to your landlord the reasons for any delay or shortfall. If rent remains unpaid, a landlord may ask a court for a possession order, which sets a date for when a tenant has to leave their home. If a tenant does not leave their home by the date on the possession order, a landlord may ask a court to set a date for eviction. When you move out in such circumstances a landlord may subtract unpaid rent from your deposit and could give you a poor reference, making it harder to rent a home next time.

If you have a private landlord, and

  • you’ve not paid your rent for 8 weeks or more or
  • your landlord is applying to court to have you evicted or
  • you’ve received court papers or
  • you’re expecting bailiffs

Contact Citizens Advice Westminster immediately (details below).

If your landlord is a housing association or local council, and you miss a payment, a housing officer will usually write to you. If you don’t reply, they may phone or visit you. It’s best to engage with them and tell them why you haven’t been able to pay rent. You will have to pay any rent that you’ve missedand they will try to help you pay what you owe. You can ask to pay small sums. You’ll normally only be evicted for missing rent payments by your social housing landlord if you don’t try to arrange to pay back what you owe.

Covid update: In England, no evictions are permitted before 31 May 2021. Until this date, a landlord has to give six months’ notice of the intention to evict a tenant, except for the most serious cases, such as missing rent payments exceeding six months rent.

If you have missed payments on more than one priority debt, and want help deciding which one to deal with first, contact Citizens Advice Westminster (details below). For more information, see Dealing with rent arrears  or Dealing with rent arrears in social housing on the Citizens Advice website.

If you have housing worries, call us on our freephone 0808 278 7834

Or help is available online (Our adviser will respond within 5 working days). Make an online enquiry

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