What you can do if you need help paying rent

There are many reasons people can need help paying rent, from changes in financial situations to spending too much on shopping sprees, but it’s best to get ahead of it to avoid rent arrears where possible. However all is not lost, we’ve put together this guide to help you figure out what to do.

Talk to your landlord as soon as possible

As soon as you realise that you won’t be able to pay your rent on time, tell your landlord. By being open and upfront, they may be more lenient. Explain to them why you’re going to be late with the payment and ask if you can have extra time to pay the rent. Also, if you explain what you’re going to do so that you won’t have rent arrears again, they may be more likely to be more flexible.

By talking with your landlord, you may be able to set up a repayment plan which would let you spread out the cost of the rent arrears, rather than paying it all at once. For example, with a repayment plan, someone whose monthly rent is £300 could pay an extra £100 for the next three months.

If your landlord won’t agree to you paying the money late, with or without a repayment plan, or if you are unable to contact them, keep the money you would have paid aside so you can offer something if it gets taken further - i.e. to court. Also, keep a record of any attempts you’ve made to contact them and of any attempted payments as this could help your case if you do get taken to court.

Try to cut back on your monthly expenditure

If you need help paying rent, consider reducing how much you spend each month. This can be as simple as cutting out nights out and the odd ‘treat yourself’ shopping spree or might require more effort, for example, looking into if you can switch gas, electricity or internet provider to reduce how much you spend each month.

Work out which luxuries and monthly expenses you can cut back on as rent arrears must be your first priority due to the fact that you can be taken to court and, potentially, evicted. Furthermore, if you do get taken to court by your landlord, it is likely that the amount you owe will increase due to added court fees, so paying it off before this happens is vital.

Ask for help

If you are able to do so, tell your family and friends that you need help paying rent and ask for financial help to cover the rent arrears as soon as possible. In order for them to be more sure of their choice to offer a loan, you can sign a Promissory Note which offers both proof of the loan and a legal obligation for you to pay it back.

Alongside asking friends and family for help, you can ask the government if you’re eligible for housing benefits or universal credit, as this could help alleviate at least some of the financial pressure on you, however not all landlords accept these. Housing benefits are paid directly into your bank account unless you live in council accommodation whereas universal credit can be paid directly to your landlord if you wish.

You should avoid payday loans where possible as the steep interest rate can leave you with a lot more debt than you started with.

If you need to find new accommodation after paying off the rent arrears, why not have a look at the accommodation listed on Roomlala.