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29 I am in arrears with my rent. What are my rights?

If you are in arrears with your rent, you should first try talking to your landlord about the arrears and see if you can come to an agreement about repayment.

If the situation is caused by a delay to your housing benefit, you should write to your local Housing Benefit Office and request a payment within 14 days. If your Housing Benefit Office cannot process your claim quickly, you should ask for an interim payment. You should try and give the Benefit Office any information it requests.

If your rent arrears are caused by a difference between your housing benefit and the amount of rent you have to pay, you should apply to your Housing Benefit Office for a discretionary hardship payment. If your council rejects your claim or you disagree about the amount, you should write to the Housing Benefit Office within one month of the date of receiving your decision letter. Your claim will then be reconsidered.

Losing your tenancy

The normal way for a landlord to end an assured tenancy is to send you a document called a 'Section 8 Notice'.

However, if you are in rent arrears and:

  • you live in an Assured Tenancy;
  • your tenancy is still in the fixed term; and
  • your tenancy agreement doesn't contain a clause to the contrary

then your landlord cannot end your tenancy even if they send you a Section 8 notice.

If you are in rent arrears and you live in a secure tenancy your landlord must send you a Section 83 notice warning you of their intention to end your tenancy.

If you need help dealing with your rent arrears, or any other aspect of housing, we recommend that you speak to one of our housing advisers on 0845 345 4 345 for specialist advice. Telephone specialist advice is only available if you qualify for legal aid


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