Tackling your debts

Dealing with eviction due to rent arrears – Part 3

Posted 06 November 2015

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If you’ve fallen behind on your rent, and you’re now facing eviction, here’s what you should do.

Yesterday, in part two, we looked at what you can do if you find yourself facing eviction due to rent arrears with a landlord who’s willing to accept your offer to make up the missing payments. Today we’ll look at what happens next when your landlord refuses your offer to pay, or you’re not able to pay back what you owe. This varies depending on whether your landlord is a private or social housing landlord. The following steps are for private landlords. 

What happens when your private landlord does not agree to your payment proposal or you are not able to make up the arrears?

If you find yourself in a situation where your landlord has refused your offer to pay or you’re not able to pay because you don’t have enough money, you’ll probably find that they’ll start the process of having you evicted.

Seeking possession or notice to quit

The first stage of this process is to send you a notification informing you that they want you to leave the property – this is called seeking possession. If you receive this, you must not ignore it. It should detail why you are being evicted and how long you have to leave the property.

The letter may also detail how this action can be prevented, but it’s likely to involve you paying the whole outstanding amount in one go. And, if that were possible, you’d have done it already.

If you don’t feel able to cope with it by yourself, you can always contact us, using the options on the left of the page and we can advise you about what you should do next. Or you can get free advice from the Money Advice Service.

Possession order

The next stage of the eviction process is called a possession order. And, to do this, your landlord must attend court. He/she will apply for this if you’ve not left the property by the date given on the previous letter, the letter seeking possession.  

Warrant of possession

If you don’t leave by the date on the possession order, your landlord can request a warrant of possession. Again they’ll have to go to court to seek a warrant of possession and, if granted, it allows the landlord to employ bailiffs to evict you from the property.

Notice of eviction

Finally, you will then receive a notice of eviction letter from the bailiff. This will advise you of the date they intend to visit your property to evict you, if you haven’t already left by then.   

What happens when your social housing landlord does not agree to your payment proposal or you are not able to make up the arrears?

If you live in a house owned by a social housing landlord, which includes houses owned by the local authority and those owned by housing associations, they have to follow a special procedure before they are able to even start the eviction process. Here’s what they have to do before they’re able to make an application to the court for eviction:

·         they must first have tried to come to an agreement with you about paying the amount you owe back, in affordable instalments

·         offer to help you claim any housing benefit or discretionary housing payments you may be missing out on 

·         give you advice on getting more help through from debt charities, like the Money Advice Service or from providers like us – use the ‘contact us’ option on the left of the page to speak to us now

And, it’s worth noting that they cannot start the process of evicting you if you’ve applied for housing benefit and you’re waiting to hear whether you’ve been successful or not.

If you find yourself in this positon, we’d always advise speaking to someone, just so you know that all the bases have been covered, before you end up with an eviction notice. We’d advise you give us a call, using one of the ‘contact us’ links on the left of the page. Or speak to the Money Advice Service for free and impartial help and advice on all aspects of dealing with problem debt.



by Shelley Bowers

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