If you are unable to pay your rent, for any reason you should:
Do not ignore the problem, it will not go away!
If you're on a low income, or having financial problems, check if you qualify for any benefits - such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, tax credits or Universal Credit. You don't have to be out of work to claim benefits and you could qualify for more than one. Even if you already receive Housing Benefit, if it doesn't cover your rent you may be able to get some extra money - called 'discretionary housing payments'. For benefits advice contact the benefits team on 0300 1234 121.
You should also consider seeking advice from a debt advice agency, which should be able to advise you on how to maximise your benefits and about any additional benefits you may be able to claim. They may also be able to assist you with filling out the forms and ensuring that any claims are not held up by incomplete paperwork.
Landlords usually have the right to seek a court order to evict you for rent arrears. In certain circumstances the council, your landlord, may be able to evict you without the need to obtain a court order first.
The rules about when and how a landlord may evict you for rent arrears differ according to the type of tenancy agreement you have. You will either have an introductory tenancy or secure tenancy.
Introductory tenancy: An Introductory tenancy lasts for the first year of a council tenancy (it can be extended if legal action has been taken or if you break any of the tenancy conditions such as paying your rent when it's due) and the tenant has fewer rights than a secure tenant. It is easier for the council to repossess during this introductory period if tenancy conditions are broken or the rent is not paid. However, if the rent is paid and tenancy conditions are complied with, the tenancy will automatically become a Secure Tenancy after one year.
Secure tenancy: You will remain a secure tenant for as long as you live at the property as your sole or principal home. This tenancy also means that the only way you can be made to give up your home is through an Order from the County Court. To get such an Order it must be clear that one of the grounds for possession applies, such as breaking your tenancy agreement.
The way that we collect rent and arrears, follows a specific structure that aims to maximise rent collection, but also to ensure that our tenant’s individual circumstances influence that process.
If you do not pay your rent on time, you will be in arrears and we will have to take action to recover those arrears. In brief, we will take the following actions:
Please remember, you will always be given the chance to pay the arrears that you owe. If you stay in touch with your Rent Management Officer we will try to provide you with the support that you need to resolve the issues you have and help you to sustain your tenancy and keep your home.
Sometimes, rent arrears arise as a result of problems with claiming and processing Housing Benefit and other entitlements. If your Housing Benefit hasn't been paid, contact the council's benefits team on 0300 1234 121 to find out what's happening. There could be a backlog, or they might need more information to deal with your claim. You must keep in contact with your Rent Management Officer and advise them of why your rent has not been paid.
Do seek advice from an independent adviser who may be able to assist you with making a claim; incomplete paperwork will hold up your claim.
Make sure you tell our estate management team what's going on and keep copies of any correspondence.
Use Shelter’s emergency helpline 03301 755 121 during opening hours if you are homeless, have nowhere to stay tonight, are worried about losing your home, or are at risk of harm or abuse in your home.
Use Shelter’s online advice if you want a quick answer, want to know your housing rights, or want to find your next steps.
Use Shelter’s webchat if you can’t find what you need on our online advice pages, need help to take the next step, or do not wish to call.
The CAB offers free, confidential advice face-to-face or by phone. Most CABs also offer home visits, and some give email advice.
Telephone: 03444 994188
Citizens Advice Bureau, 21 Dean Street, Liskeard
There are also CAB outreach centres in Looe, Callington and Saltash
National Debtline is a free, confidential service offering independent advice about dealing with debt. You can get information online or by calling the free helpline:
Website: National Debtline
Free helpline: 0808 808 4000.