What if I can’t pay rent?
With the rise in the cost of living and reduction of real term wages rental arrears have been becoming a wider spread problem that more and more tenants have to deal with each year. With Covid and the lockdown this has seen a sharp rise, with some sources claiming the number of tenants in arrears has doubled during this period. So, what should you do if you are or, believe your going to be in arrears?
Talk to us.
If you are not going to be able to pay your rent on time its always best to contact your landlord or agent as soon as you are aware of a potential problem. We would much rather work with you than against you and communication is key to this.
Ideally have a plan.
The reasons we have for tenants not being able to pay is often they are themselves waiting for income, they may have changed job and have a different pay date or with regards to students waiting for loans to come in. In my experience landlords are more than willing to offer flexibility in these instances if they are aware of the situation. For larger arrears or if your going to have consistent issues you should work out what you can afford to pay each month and what you can afford payment plan wise, I am often asked to make a payment plan for tenants and without knowing your financial situation its hard for me to know what you can afford and when.
Also bear in mind that while some landlord have big portfolios and a rent delay/ under payment may not seem like a big deal to them, we also have landlords who own single properties and the income acts as there pension, so what a landlord is able to offer you will vary from landlord to landlord. We don’t want to leave you so short you cant eat, but we really have no idea what your living expenses are. Getting a plan in place can also help you avoid any negative referencing
Check what you’re entitled to from your local authority/ Government.
If your struggling with your rental payments its worth checking if you qualify for any help under either your local authority or Universal credit systems. People often presume they do not qualify or are ashamed to use the system but we all pay into it so you should take advantage of it if you need. Due to the Covid shutdown these benefits have been extended so even if you have checked before its worth asking the question again
If you have a guarantor inform them, you are having problems as they may be asked to pay.
If you have a guarantor, they have signed a contract that they will cover your rent if you cannot pay. If you are not able to pay you should inform them as they may be asked to pay on your behalf. This will give them the opportunity either pay the rent before requested or prepare financially in case they are. We often find that guarantors are un aware of the situation until they are contacted by us and many of them state they would have liked the opportunity to help before it reached this stage.