Dealing with rent arrears – action points for Scottish debtors

October 10, 2014

Keeping up with rent payments isn’t easy for a lot of Scottish residents but if you’ve found yourself unable to pay your landlord for any reason then you should look to take action sooner rather than later.

Leaving rent arrears to accumulate without taking any action can ultimately be financiallydamaging and may lead to a situation in which you’re forced out of your home.

Here are some action points if you’re having trouble with rent arrears:

Talk to your landlord

If you’re struggling with rent arrears then the first thing you should do is inform your landlord of the problems you’re facing. It’s understandable that you might be reluctant to speak to your landlord if you can’t pay your rent in full but the issue cannot be resolved unless you’re willing to communicate.

Opening a dialogue with your landlord early on considerably increases the prospects of reaching a payment agreement that you can afford and that your landlord is happy with. The alternative is ongoing uncertainty and, in many cases, a great deal of stress, doubt and fear over what the consequences of not paying your rent might be – whilst losing the trust of your landlord in the meantime.

Establish a plan of action

Problems with rent arrears usually require a concerted effort and a workable plan of action in order to be resolved in a way that doesn’t involve eviction. Generally, a landlord will not want to see their tenant forced to leave a particular premises because they are struggling financially and they may well be flexible enough to see rent arrears recovered over an extended period.

This isn’t to suggest that landlords are always kind-hearted souls but rather to imply that commitments as a tenant to solving issues around rent arrears are often welcomed as cost-effective and preferable options to eviction from a landlords’ perspective.

Pay whatever you can

Whether or not you can reach an agreement over how to pay off your rent arrears in full, you should pay off as much of any outstanding amounts as possible in order to improve your position and lessen the risk of your being evicted. If your landlord eventually takes you to court then it will play in your favour that you were prepared to pay a proportion of your rent arrears even where an agreement has not been reached.

Stick to any plan you agree to

This might be easier said than done of course but if you can possibly stick to the terms of a rent arrears repayment plan agreed with your landlord then it is very much in your interests to do so. Failing to pay money to your landlord in line with a pre-arranged strategy is likely to lead to legal action aimed at evicting you from your home.

It is possible that a further plea to your landlord will lead them to hold off from trying to evict you but for this to be the case you will probably need to present a convincing case explaining why your financial position has significantly changed. Changes that might make a difference in this kind of situation could include your gaining access to Housing Benefits, starting a new job or receiving previously unpaid debts.

Understand your options

As with every form of personal debt, it can be crucially important to understand the options available to you if you can’t afford to pay your rent on time or in full. This is particularly true of a situation in which your landlord is attempting to obtain a court order to evict you, which can happen under certain circumstances even if you manage to settle your debts and pay back your arrears.

But whatever your situation is in relation to unpaid rent arrears, it’s generally well worth speaking to a personal debt expert to decide on how you might best proceed.

You can call Scotland Debt Solutions to arrange a free consultation and to start getting your issues sorted. Or you can click our Debt Solutions Questionnaire to get a better sense of the financial difficulties you’re facing.

John Baird

Insolvency Adviser

Tel: 0800 063 9250

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