If you’re renting, your rent is the most important bill you have to pay each week or month. If you can’t afford your rent or think you might fall behind, take these steps to get yourself back in control and avoid eviction.
Work out a plan and talk to your landlord
If you think you are going into rent arrears or are already in arrears, act quickly. What you do will depend on what you can afford and what stage things have got to. You will need to:
- Work out a budget
- Talk to your landlord
Work out a budget
If you have just rent arrears, you can use our budget tool to work out how much money is coming in and going out. From there, you can look for any ways to pay your rent by:
- Increasing your income
- Getting better value for your money
- Reducing your expenses
Try to keep paying your normal rent while you are working out how much you can pay off your rent arrears. This shows that you want to address the problem and deal with your arrears.
When you have a plan for how you will manage your money and know what you can offer towards your rent arrears, talk to your lender. If you think this is likely to be an ongoing problem, or you have other debts, follow our 5 steps to tackling debt or see solutions to help you pay your rent.
Talk to your landlord
Talk to your landlord immediately. It can be difficult to talk to your landlord about late rent payments, but they may agree to a repayment plan if you explain your situation. Read more about tips for contacting creditors.
When you talk to your landlord:
- Explain why you’re going to be late with the rent and ask for extra time
- Tell them how you’re going to address the problem and how you’ll catch up on missed payments
- Do not make promises you can’t keep
Agree a repayment plan
If you agree on a repayment plan, you’ll probably need to commit to paying a regular amount each week or month on top of your usual rent payments. You should write it down and stick to the plan.
You may be struggling to meet the full payment, if for example you have lost your job and are waiting for a social welfare payment to come through. Explain your situation and keep paying something to show you are trying your best to keep arrears down.
Call a MABS adviser on 0818 07 2000 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) if you need help with your repayment plan or have problems paying your rent.
What to do if you’re being threatened with eviction
You can’t be evicted straight away. If you’re unable to agree a repayment plan with your landlord, they must:
- Give you a minimum of 14 days warning notice for failure to pay rent
- Give you a 28 day ‘Notice of Termination’ (eviction notice) if you can’t pay within the 14 days warning notice
Even if your landlord has sent you a Notice of Termination, it’s not too late to try to reach an agreement with them.
If you get any letters threatening eviction, try and act quickly.
Contact the Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC) if you need legal advice and cannot afford a solicitor.
See the Residential Tenancy Board website for information on:
- Rent reviews
- Rent arrears
- Having your home maintained during a tenancy
- Rent predictability measures (Government attempts to control rent increases)
Solutions to help you pay your rent
Not being able to keep up with your rent can be stressful, but there are options to help you stay in your home and avoid eviction.
I am renting from a private landlord
If you’re living in private rented accommodation, check if you’re entitled to the Housing Assistant Payment (HAP). Contact your local authority who will make a decision based on your needs. You can get more information on the HAP website.
Check if you are entitled to Rent Supplement. This is a short-term means-tested payment for certain people living in private rented accommodation who cannot provide for the cost of their accommodation from their own resources.
Check to see if you are eligible for other social welfare payments.
I am renting from a local authority or housing body
It can be a good idea to check that you are being charged the correct rent. You can ask your local authority or housing body how their rent charges are calculated generally and how yours has been calculated. Your rent will be higher if grown-up children or a partner lives with you. Tell your local authority if your circumstances change (for example your partner or non-dependent child moves out). This can lower the amount of rent and arrears you have to pay.
Ways to pay your rent
1. The Household Budget Scheme
This can help you pay rent to a local authority or housing body. If you get your social welfare payment in the post office, you can deduct an amount from your payment to pay the rent. The total amount deducted will not be more than a quarter (25%) of your total payment.
You can pay your rent through BillPay in the Post Office or PostPoint in shops. It can be useful to pay your rent to a local authority or a housing association at the same time as collecting your social welfare payment.
3. Direct to the local authority or landlord
You might find it easier to pay your rent at the local authority offices or directly to your landlord. If you pay rent to your landlord in person, this needs to be recorded either in a rent book or by receipt. Contact Threshold for advice on rent books.
4. Through the bank
If you have a bank account, you can pay by direct debit or standing order from your account.
Where to get free help and advice
If you’re already in arrears with your rent or are struggling with debts, talk to a money adviser as soon as possible. You can call the MABS Helpline on 0818 07 2000 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) for help or guidance on what to do next if you have problems paying rent.