What can I do about my rent arrears?
If you are struggling to pay your rent or are at risk of losing your home because you owe your landlord rent, you need to take action. It is always a good idea to tell your landlord if you are having trouble paying the rent. Your landlord will notice that you haven't paid and is more likely to take action if you ignore the problem. Telling your landlord and offering a practical solution may prevent her/him from trying to evict you, as it shows that you are making an effort to deal with the situation.
Negotiating payments of rent arrears
It may be possible to come to an agreement with your landlord to pay a certain amount each week or month off the arrears you have built up. If you decide to do this, then make sure you agree on an amount you can realistically afford. It is better to make small regular payments than to miss payments because you can't afford it that week/month. Whatever you agree with your landlord, get it confirmed in writing or make a note of the date and time of the conversation for your records.
For more advice on your rent arrears
Read the rent advice from the National Debtline website. The National Debtline is an independent charity, dedicated to providing free debt advice by phone and online to people across the UK.
Read the eviction and rent arrears advice from the Shelter England website. Shelter is a registered charity that campaigns to end homelessness and bad housing in England and Scotland.
Read how to deal with rent arrears on the Shelter England website for advice on the action you should take if you are in rent arrears to prevent you being evicted.
Read about private renting - rent arrears advice on GOV.UK, for other sources of advice on rent arrears.
Advice on mortgage arrears and repossession
If you're struggling to pay, you need to act quickly, even if the problem is only temporary. Mortgage arrears don't automatically lead to repossession but must be taken very seriously. You can get further advice on mortgage arrears from:
Mortgage repossession on the Shelter England website provides advice on preventing repossession, court action and bailiffs, mortgage areas and after repossession.
Get help on Shelter England website, for online chat, urgent helpline or to find local services.
Read about homelessness on the Eden Housing Association website, for advice for anyone threatened with homelessness and to contact details for the housing options team.
Eden Housing Association as part of their homeless service offers advice on housing options, waiting list procedures, provide assistance with obtaining alternative accommodation and if possible negotiate with landlords to enable you to remain in the property.
Legal advice and representation in court
Keeping up with rent or mortgage payments should be your top financial priority. If you are having problems paying your rent or mortgage you should discuss the situation with your landlord or mortgage lender. The sooner you deal with the situation, the more options you will have and the less chance that you will lose your home.
If you are facing threat of eviction you can:
Go to Cumbria Law Centre website, to find out about this community organisation offering free legal advice and representation to people who live or work in the county.
Unlawful eviction is when your landlord or someone acting for them forces you to leave your home without following the proper legal procedures.
Unless you are sharing part of your accommodation with your landlord (for example: sharing a bathroom, kitchen or living room), you can only be forced to leave your home by the County Court Bailiffs. For this to happen, your landlord must serve a proper written notice telling you that your tenancy is being ended, and then must apply to the County Court for a Possession Order requiring you to leave. Only the bailiffs can enforce the Possession Order and force you to leave, this cannot be done by your landlord.
Read about eviction on the Shelter England website for information on eviction notices, private tenants and lodgers, council and housing association tenants, illegal eviction, rent arrears and prisoners.
Housing Association evictions
Housing association tenants can only be evicted in certain circumstances, such as breaking one of the terms in their tenancy agreement. If this happens, the housing association should give you notice. The amount of notice you get depends on why you are being evicted and the kind of tenancy you have.
Read about the reasons for evicting a housing association tenant on the Shelter England website. As a housing association tenant can only be evicted for certain legal reasons that the housing association must prove.
Read about eviction of council and housing association tenants on the Shelter England website, which provides advice on where to get help, the eviction process, how to challenge an eviction, when the court must order an eviction and when the court could order an eviction.
Private tenant evictions
Private landlords usually have to follow special legal procedures in order to evict tenants. They sometimes need a particular legal reason to evict tenants but in many cases they don't. Whether your landlord can evict you and how depends on the type of tenancy you have.
Read about eviction notices from private landlords on the Shelter England website, which provides advice on when a notice is needed, types of tenants and tenancies.
Gypsies and Travellers evictions
Together with the police we can evict Gypsies and Travellers from land where they have stopped, even if it is land they own.
Read about Gypsies, Roma and Traveller communities on the Shelter England website, which provides advice on the eviction process, eviction rules and finding a place to stay.