Arrears - what do I do next?

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    Arrears - what do I do next?

    I have a tenant in arrears, which is something new to me. Can anyone please explain what I should do next?

    My tenant has been in the property 8 months and is 2 months into their second 6 month AST. They've just failed to pay one months rent. Due to a change in circumstances the only hope they have to pay the rent in the future and clear the arrear is housing benefit. They're awaiting a decision on their housing benefit.

    I was told all this a week ago, and told the tenant I'd give her a week to see how things were starting to look. I'd like to resolve this by agreement. Can anyone tell me the landlord and tenant responsibilities please?

    Rent is entirely the tenant's responsibility, even if it's being paid by HB. You need to start putting things in writing, because if it goes to court a judge may want to know what you did to chase the arrears. Ask the tenant what is holding up the HB claim and if you can help.


      HB take several weeks to sort out a tenants award, you can ask HB how much they normally pay given the tenant's circumstances, unemployed, number of children etc. They will give you a figure off a chart, this is only a guide and the tenant is likely to receive more than this figure but if this is less than the rent you charge, the tenant will have to pay a top up. The tenant can usually get a more accurate but still unofficial figure by phoning HB themselves. Once you have these figures, make a decision based on them. Although it takes time to sort out, in my area, typically 10 weeks, the award is backdated to the date of the first claim.


        Be advised also that housing benefits, if paid to you directly are paid in arrear and on a four weekly, not monthly basis. This will complicate matters if you expect your tenant to pay monthly in advance.

        Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


          It took 12 weeks for my tenant to get HB

          I only got it sorted because I followed the Councils complaints procedure
          This is ususally available on the internet

          HB told me they had not prioritised the case because:

          I did not shout & scream at them


            BTW if the tenant is in more than 8 weeks arrears you can ask HB to pay you directly

            So if I was you I'd get straight on the phone to them & ask them to prioritise your case


              Many thanks for help. I've looked at this a bit more and realise my first post doesn't quite make sense.

              My tenant is on a statutory AST, as six months have passed. I have therefore issued a S21 Notice to Quit which will allow possesion in Sept 2005. Unless she gets HB she'll stay in the property without paying the rent between now and then. My tenant is a single mother who doesn't work, and her cashflow (a big redundancy payout) has dried up.

              If her HB is unsuccessful she'll (hopefully) leave the property peacefully, but 3 months in arrears. What do I need to do to recover the eventual arrears and is there anything I should be doing now?


                First, you need to check that HB will cover the whole rent, its easier for her to do that. If you phone the council they will read a figure off a chart, I have found that this is usually less than the tenant is eventually awarded. If she phones or goes in, they will go into more detail and give her a more accurate figure although not necessarily the final one. HB will be backdated to the date of first application and you can make sure it is paid to you. When HB get their act together (its paid four weekly in arrears by the way) you will have actual figures to take to your tenant and the backdated HB will reduce the arrears. You then have a choice, come to some arrangement with the tenant for clearing the arrears remaining or continue with the s21 and write them off. Don't forget that if she wants to get nasty, she can stop claiming benefit and you will lose more as it will take time to get rid of her and you are then getting nothing in.


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