Rent arrears are priority debts. If you have rent arrears on a property you live in, it’s important to contact the landlord or letting agency quickly to offer a way to repay what you owe. If you don’t do this, you’re at risk of eviction.
If you’re looking to rent with arrears on a previous property, you might find it difficult for a landlord to rent to you. There’s also the possibility that court action will be taken against you to recover what you owe.
If you're struggling to rent a property, your landlord or letting agent may agree to you using a rent guarantor who would be responsible for paying any arrears.
Recent changes to eviction laws
A ban on evictions for private renters in England and Wales that's been in place since March is due to come to an end on 23 August. However, landlords must submit evidence about how their tenants’ circumstances may have been affected by coronavirus if they want to evict. Landlords in Wales must currently give six months' notice of eviction.
In Scotland, the ban on evictions has provisionally been extended until March 2021.
If you're worries you may be at threat from eviction, contact Shelter, or consider getting free debt advice.
Help with the financial impact of coronavirus
A number of measures are being rolled out to help people who are struggling financially because of coronavirus. These include payment holidays for some forms of credit, changes to overdraft charges, help for renters and the extension of the moratorium period for debts in Scotland.
The Scottish government has also launched a scheme to offer interest-free loans to private landlords whose tenants are having difficulty paying rent during the coronavirus crisis.
The DWP has suspended certain deductions from Universal Credit (UC). If you have a suspended possession order (SPO) and normally have rent arrears deducted from your UC, you will need to make your rent arrears payment directly. If you’re unable to do this for any reason, contact us immediately, as not paying may lead to your breaching your SPO, and put you at risk of eviction.
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