Rent arrears

We want to support you if you are struggling to pay your rent

As a resident, you are responsible for making sure that your rent is paid. In most cases, we collect your payment every Monday. Your tenancy says you should pay your rent in advance, so your account should always be in credit at this time.

If you receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you are still responsible for paying your rent. If you receive Housing Benefit, this means the council pay on your behalf, but you will still owe the money if they do not pay. If you receive Universal Credit, this is paid to you, so you'll need to keep your payments up-to-date.

Unfortunately, if you don't keep up payments on your home, you will be at risk of losing your home.

If you receive housing benefit and your claim is not renewed or is cancelled, the payments towards your rent will stop, and your rent account will go into arrears. It's really important that you get this sorted out quickly or you may be left with a large debt to pay.

 

What will happen if I fall into arrears?

We understand that there are many reasons you may fall into arrears with us, and we will always try to help you to get back up-to-date and keep your home. If you fall into arrears, please contact us as soon as possible, so we can understand your situation and agree on the best way of helping you.

We have a dedicated team of debt and welfare officers who can offer you guidance and practical help with financial problems. You can speak to our Customer Support Team by calling the Customer Hub.

First stages

We will always try and speak to you first to resolve any problems before we start any formal action. If we are unable to talk to you, we will write to you asking you to get in touch with us to talk about your arrears. Please make sure you respond to us if this happens, as if we don't get a response, we will have to serve you with a 'Notice of Seeking Possession'.

Notice of Seeking Possession (NSP)

An NSP is a legal document giving you 28 days' notice that we intend to apply to a court to get possession of your property. We will not usually apply to court if you have already agreed to pay your arrears, entered into an arrangement to pay or are awaiting the outcome of a benefits application. An NSP is valid for 12 months, and if you still have arrears after this period, we will serve another until the debt is paid. Once your debt is paid, the notice will automatically end.

If after the 28 days you fail to contact us to arrange to pay the arrears, or during the 12-month period, fail to keep up with an agreed arrangement, we will have to apply to the court for possession of your home.

Can legal action be stopped?

Yes, we can stop legal action at any time before a court application is made. Once a possession application has been made, we cannot stop it, and we will have to wait for the judge to decide what happens. If, however, you have contacted us before the hearing and:

    • told us of a specific problem,
    • paid the balance in full,
    • or made an agreement to pay,

we can ask for the hearing to be adjourned or for a possession order to be suspended under a specified agreement.

The agreement is drawn up detailing how much you will pay and how often to clear your arrears. This will then be given to the court. If the agreement is broken, legal proceedings will begin again.

What happens in court?

We will tell the court how much you owe and give details of any payments you have made. We will also tell the court about the work we have done to resolve the issues as well as any past arrangements you have made that have failed. We will ask the court to award us costs. This means that in addition to your arrears you will be asked to pay court costs of approximately £325.

If we have not had any contact with you, we may ask the court for immediate possession of your home.

We advise you to seek legal advice before your court hearing. The Citizens' Advice Bureau or a solicitor can offer you help, advice and practical support. You can also bring along anyone you wish to represent you.

What will happen after court?

If your case has been adjourned because you are waiting for a benefits decision or because you have agreed to do something in an agreed timeframe, and your debt has been paid or substantially reduced, we may decide not to take further action at that time.

If your arrears increase during the next 12 months, we may decide to ask the courts to look at the case again. After 12 months, we would need to make a new application to the court.

If we received a possession order that was suspended on agreed terms, this would stay on your account until the debt is paid. If you keep to the terms of the order, you will not be evicted.

If you fail to maintain payments, we may have to ask the court for a warrant for your eviction. If the court grants a warrant, we will get a date when the bailiffs will go to your home and evict you.

If we apply for a Warrant for Eviction, you may have to pay an additional £121 in court costs.

What happens if I am evicted?

You may be considered intentionally homeless dependent on your personal circumstances, and the council will not be able to offer you temporary housing. We will inform the council's homeless team before making an application for an eviction warrant in case they can help you.

If you are evicted, the money will still be classed as a debt with any other costs that have been incurred, such as court costs and fees and will need to be paid back.

 

Help with money worries

We know what it's like to worry about money and the last thing we want our customers to do is struggle to pay their rent or household bills. That's why our team of specialist advisors are here to help.

We have Welfare Rights Officers who can help you to claim the benefits you are entitled to or appeal a decision you do not agree with. Our qualified debt advisors offer a full range of debt solutions, and our Money Advisor can help you to keep your bills and spending under control.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please book an appointment here. If you need urgent help, please call our Customer Hub.

 

If you become homeless

If you are homeless or are concerned you may become homeless, please contact HOST or call 0161 912 2230.

If you become homeless outside of their regular opening hours, contact the Emergency Duty Team by telephoning 0800 218 2000.

If you need urgent help, please call our Customer Hub on 0300 777 777

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