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Dealing with Rent Arrears

Many people in the United Kingdom are dealing with financial problems, thanks to the current global economic crisis that is affecting the world.  Homeowners are not the only ones having problems making their mortgage payments. They are looking at having their homes repossessed by the mortgage companies and going out to find new places to live. Another group of people who are facing similar problems are people who rent and are in arrears making their rent payments. It is a topic that does not receive a lot of publicity, but it is still a topic that should be discussed.

Tenants have rights just like their landlords, and if they do not pay their rent they could face being evicted. This could cause them to have problems in the future when they attempt to rent another place, especially if they need a credit reference. If you are a tenant and you are having financial difficulties, you need to tell your landlord right away. If you are upfront and honest about it, your landlord may be more apt to work with you to get the rent caught up than if you just go along trying to ignore the debt and hoping it goes away.

  • Because many landlords pay the mortgage on the house or flat you are living in with the money you pay them, they need to be kept abreast of your situation so that they can make arrangements to get the mortgage paid. If your arrears are due to a temporary loss of income that has been fixed, you should be able to resume making your normal rent payments and work out an agreement with your landlord about paying on the arrears. If your landlord is willing to work with you, make sure that you agree to repay the arrears in a manner that is reasonable for both of you. It is better to pay a smaller amount each month for a longer period of time than trying to pay an amount you simply cannot meet.

    Your landlord has the right to refuse making a repayment arrangement with you on the amount that is in arrears. They can insist on moving forward with legal proceedings, and if this happens you need to seek out financial help from an advice organisation or even a local debt charity. The rights you have as a tenant will be based on the type of rental lease you have with your landlord, and it is important that you know what type of tenancy agreement you have. Your landlord could sue you for the money and force you to pay all of the arrearage in one lump sum instead of in the installments that you offered.
If your landlord decides to take you to court for the money, they can also petition the courts for an eviction in addition to the money you owe them. You will liable for the court fees in addition to the back rent you owe. You should plan on setting aside the money to repay the arrearage as if you were making repayments to the landlord, and you need to keep a record of this to show the courts to prove that you tried to negotiate with your landlord and were willing to make repayment over time. This will be looked upon by the courts more favourably.

While you will still owe the money to your landlord, you have the right to simply pack up your belongings and leave the property. If you decide to do this, make sure you submit a formal notice to your landlord so that no more money can be added to what you owe them.
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