What if I can’t pay my rent?
What to do if you fall behind with rent
If you fall behind with paying your rent we will try to contact you to find out if you are having money troubles. If we can’t get in touch by text, phone or post we may arrange a visit to your property.
How YOU can contact your rent team:
Further help and advice
If you are worried about keeping up with your rent repayments there are a lot of organisations who can offer free and impartial advice:
- A good place to start for help if you begin to struggle is the Thanet Citizens Advice website.
- The StepChange Debt Charity offer solutions via its online debt counselling service Debt Remedy.
- The National Debtline offer free, independent advice
- Kent Savers – call them 0333 321 9050 (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm) or 0300 456 9990 from 5pm to 8pm, and weekends from 8am to 8pm
- Money Advice Service or call 0300 500 5000
- You can report a loanshark on the .gov.uk website
What happens if you don’t pay your rent
As your landlord, the council has a duty to make sure all rent is paid up to date. This is because the rent that is paid by tenants goes toward the upkeep of council housing and providing services for tenants. As a tenant, you must make paying your rent a priority. If you don’t pay your rent, you risk losing your home.
We aim to:
- Assist tenants who get into arrears, by setting realistic repayment arrangements to clear their debt.
- Prevent tenants from getting further into arrears, by contacting them before their debt becomes high.
- Take firm action against tenants who, despite our help, fail to pay their rent.
If you get into arrears with your payments, we will:
- Contact you to let you know that you are in arrears, and ask you to contact us.
- We will always try to reach an agreement with you for you to pay off your arrears at an amount that is affordable for you.
- If you make an agreement to clear your arrears, you must keep to it, or let us know about any problems you are having.
- If you do not clear your debt, or keep to an agreement to repay what you owe, we will take court action to recover what you owe.
If we take you to court, you may find that the court order affects your credit rating, and you could also lose your home. You will also have to pay any court costs.
If you have applied for Housing Benefit, we will only stop arrears action if you have supplied all the information needed by the Benefits Team to deal with your claim.
Issuing a Notice for non-payment of rent
We will issue a Notice of Seeking Possession / Notice of Possession Proceedings/Notice Seeking Termination of Tenancy/Notice to Quit, if your rent arrears are increasing and you have not made a payment arrangement with us. This notice is the first stage before we can start any court action against you.
If you receive any of the above notices please contact us immediately. We would much prefer to make an arrangement with you rather than going to court. Going to court could leave you liable for court costs or with a possession order on your home. Read more about Notices here
If, after four clear calendar weeks of the notice being issued, you have still not made an arrangement or cleared your arrears we will apply to the court. The court will set a date approximately 6 weeks after we have made our application. During this time we will continue to contact you to try and resolve your arrears. Again, we would much prefer to go to court with a mutually agreeable arrangement. We will attend the court hearing and we would encourage you to attend as well to discuss your situation and reach an agreement. We will recommend what we feel is the most appropriate possession order for your situation, but the final decision will be made by the judge. You will be liable for any court costs we incur.
You can avoid the possible loss of your home by making an arrangement with us to clear your rent arrears. Please contact us.
Eviction is always the last resort. We do not take this decision lightly and will try all options available for us to reach arrangements and to get you to engage with us. Once we have applied for an eviction warrant the court will set an eviction date; this will normally be three to four weeks after we have applied. The local bailiff will hand deliver a warrant to you and this will tell you what will happen. If you decide you want to remain in the property and are prepared to pay your rent and reach an agreement, you can complete a form via the courts to request a ‘stay of eviction’. You may have to pay a fee to file this form with the court. If you complete a ‘stay’, the court will let us know and we will attend a hearing at the court. At this hearing, Thanet District Council and the judge will hear your reasons for not being evicted and what you propose to pay towards your rent. It’s still not too late to save your home but you will need pay off your arrears, plus any legal costs, in full to prevent eviction.
If the eviction goes ahead, on the day of the eviction a Thanet District Council employee will attend your property along with the court bailiff at the time given on the warrant. We will then take possession of the property and you will be expected to leave. We would also expect you to arrange to take your belongings on the day of the eviction. You can apply for housing advice from the Housing Options team at your local council, but the council will not rehouse you into another property whilst you have rent arrears.
If you find yourself subject to any of these actions we would recommend you take independent advice from organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.
It is a myth that the council does not evict people, even if they have children. If you are evicted, you may be considered as ‘intentionally homeless’ and have difficulty finding somewhere else to live.