Struggling to pay your rent

Rent Arrears Support

If you are struggling with your rent payments, you may be worried about losing your home. It is best to seek advice and help as son as you are unable to pay your rent, or you miss your first rent payment.

There are a number of actions you can take yourself to resolve rent arrears, like:

  • contact your landlord and discuss a repayment plan
  • check the benefit calculator to see if you are eligible for any benefits to increase your income
  • work out and understand your budget with the help of this budget calculator

If you are worried and would like support, there is advice and assistance to help you resolve the rent arrears and prevent you from losing your home. To help you negotiate with your landlord and to consider any other financial or tenancy support, you should:

Eviction support

If your landlord wants to bring your tenancy to an end, they are required to follow a legal procedure. To start this process, your landlord needs to issue you with a notice in writing.

The notice will differ depending on your tenancy type and whether you are a social or private rented tenant, but you should seek help and contact Housing Advice Service as soon as you receive one.

The Housing Advice Service can:

  • check if the notice is valid
  • help to negotiate with your landlord
  • refer you for debt/money advice
  • refer you for tenancy support
  • consider your alternative housing options, if prevention fails

If you are a Reading Borough Council tenant, please also contact the Rents Team on 0118 9372784 as they will be able to support you.

When the notice expires your landlord can apply to the courts for a possession order. Please note that only a court-appointed bailiff can physically remove you from the property and you should contact Housing Advice Service if your landlord is attempting to do this.

You can also contact the housing solicitor at Turpin Miller for advice around evictions and property repossessions. If you qualify for legal aid, you may be offered further assistance and representation. For any new queries please contact Klaudia Wlazlo at kwlazlo@turpinmiller.co.uk.

Private rented eviction process

If you are renting from a private landlord with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and they want you to leave, they are required to serve a valid section 21 or section 8 notice.

Only when the notice expires and you have not vacated your property, you landlord can apply to courts for a possession order. As long as your security deposit was protected, the notice was valid and the landlord’s paperwork is in order, the courts will grant a possession order.

If you haven’t left the property by the expiry date of the possession order, your landlord can apply for an eviction warrant from the court. Once the eviction warrant is issued, court-appointed bailiffs can remove you from the property.

Coronavirus section 21 notices update:

  • if you got the notice any time from 27 March to 28 August, your landlord had to give you three months’ notice
  • if you got the notice on or after 29 August, your landlord had to give you six months’ notice (unless, for example, you owe six months’ rent, you are exhibiting Antisocial Behaviour or perpetrating domestic abuse)

Please note, if you share a property with your landlord, they do not have to give you notice in writing and apply to the courts. A ‘live-in’ landlord must provide you with a reasonable notice, which usually means 28 days. Once this ends you will need to vacate the property, but your landlord cannot use force to remove you.

If you received a notice from your landlord, please contact Housing Advice Service.

Additionally, you can also seek advice and representation for the court hearing from Turpin Miller, who are present on Mondays at the Reading County Court advice desk to support cases that are due to be heard that Monday.  Please note that due to Covid pandemic all hearings are taking place remotely, and Turpin Miller are happy to arrange beforehand a call for the day of your hearing. If you qualify for legal aid, you may be offered further assistance. Please contact Klaudia Wlazlo on  01865 406035 or at kwlazlo@turpinmiller.co.uk for this support.

Social rented eviction process

If you are renting from a council or housing association and they want you to leave, you will be issued a ‘notice seeking possession’. The notice will explain why you are being asked to leave and when.

If you haven’t left before the expiry date, your landlord will need to apply to court for a possession order. At the court hearing a judge will decide whether to issue a possession order.

This could be an outright possession order or a suspended possession order, where you are given conditions in order to keep your home. If you don’t leave the property by the expiry of an outright possession order, your landlord can apply to the court to get a ‘warrant of possession’ that enable bailiffs to evict you from your home.

Please note, if your housing association issued you with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, please refer to the private rented sector notices and eviction process section for advice.

If you received a notice from your landlord, please contact Housing Advice Service.

Additionally, you can also seek advice and representation for the court hearing from Turpin Miller, who are present on Mondays at the Reading County Court advice desk to support cases that are due to be heard that Monday.  Please note that due to Covid pandemic all hearings are taking place remotely, and Turpin Miller are happy to arrange beforehand a call for the day of your hearing. If you qualify for legal aid, you may be offered further assistance. Please contact Klaudia Wlazlo on  01865 406035 or at kwlazlo@turpinmiller.co.uk for this support.