What if I can t pay my rent?

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1 Customer focused, quality driven

2 Introduction Not paying your rent is a breach of your tenancy agreement but if you are experiencing difficulty then you must contact us so that we can help you. Why do my arrears matter? It is the rents that our customers pay that pay for the repairs, improvements and services to all of our customers. If customers do not pay their rent then it directly impacts on the level of services that we are able to provide, this is why we will always enforce this section of your tenancy agreement. How can Aldwyck help you? We have specialist Housing Debt Advisers who can assist you with budgeting and give you advice and assistance with claiming welfare benefits. They can also help you with some general debt advice. If you would like to speak to one of our Housing Debt Advisers please telephone Customer Services on The legal process for Assured tenants If your rent account falls into arrears you must contact us to make up the payments. If you fail to make up the payments then we will take legal action to recover the debt. The first stage of legal action is to serve you with a Notice of Seeking Possession (NOSP) at your address. If you have been served with a NOSP then we would advise you to seek independent legal advice as this is the first step of us taking you to court for possession of the property. You must also contact us to discuss the arrears and make arrangements to repay the debt. If you fail to do this we will apply to the County Court for possession of the property. The Court costs are around 100 and you will be asked to pay these costs in addition to the outstanding rent owed. Once the Court date is set you will be notified by the Court and we will also write to you and visit you at home to discuss the hearing. It is a condition of your tenancy to pay your rent in full, if you miss any payments you must make these payments up in full or we will take action to recover the debt

3 County Court Judgements The outcome of the Court hearing will be dependent on what order is granted.: Adjournment: this will only be requested by us if the rent account is clear at the time of the hearing or the arrears are very low. Even if your rent account is clear we will usually ask the Court to order you to pay the costs. This outcome will not put your home at risk. Suspended Possession Order: this will usually be granted if you have made an agreement to clear your arrears but there are still arrears on your account. This will usually also be requested if you have failed to keep to the terms of an adjournment. You must keep to the agreement made by the Court or you will be at risk of losing your home. Outright Possession Order: this will usually be granted if you have not made an agreement or failed to keep to the terms of any agreement you ve made with us to repay the debt. Your home is at risk if you do not clear the entire debt, including court costs within a set timescale (usually 28 days). Eviction If you fail to keep to the terms of a Possession Order then Aldwyck will apply for warrant for a Bailiff to evict you. This application costs around and you will have to pay these costs. Once the warrant has been applied for, the only way you can prevent Aldwyck from enforcing the warrant is to pay all of your rent arrears and court costs in full. If you do not clear the debt in full, you can apply to the County Court to ask a judge to stop the eviction but you will need to be able to demonstrate to the judge that there is a very good reason why you haven t kept to the terms of your Possession Order. If you are evicted for rent arrears then you may be considered as intentionally homeless by the local Council, which means that they do not have to help in finding you another home. Even if you are evicted for rent arrears you are still responsible for paying the rent arrears and court costs. If you do not come to an agreement with us to repay this debt then we will pass your details to a debt collection agency to find where you have moved to and recover the debt on our behalf. Eviction is a last resort and we would rather you remained in your home and paid off any debt

4 What happens if I don t keep up with my rent payments during my Starter Tenancy? If you have a Starter Tenancy please contact us if you are experiencing difficulties in paying your rent and we will discuss with you ways in which to resolve the problem. Advice Advice and support can be sought from the following organisations: Citizens Advice However, if this does not work we will either: Serve you with a two months Notice requiring Possession, or; Serve you a Notice to Extend the Starter Tenancy. We will only extend the tenancy if your rent arrears are very low, in all other cases we will serve you with the Notice requiring Possession to end your tenancy. In cases where no, or very little rent is paid we may serve a Notice of Seeking Possession and request the court gives us possession much earlier in your tenancy. Shelter Age UK Child Benefit Office Dept for Work and Pensions Disability Benefits helpline Personal Independance helpline Attendance Allowance helpline National Debtline Step Change Debt Charity Tax Credit Helpline

5 You can request a translated copy of this document by contacting Customer Services on Aldwyck Housing Group 6 Houghton Hall Business Park Porz Avenue, Houghton Regis Bedfordshire. LU5 5UZ T: E: Follow us on: ALD013 (Dec 14)

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