Not Paying Your Rent
If you do not pay your rent you could lose your home. However, it is your responsibility to make sure payments are made regularly and on time. You still remain responsible even if you receive full housing benefit.
The following gives a guide to the action Estuary would take to recover any rent arrears.
Home improvements, Transfers and Mutual Exchanges shall be refused if you have any outstanding Rent Arrears
If you miss a rent payment or are paying less than you should, you will receive a reminder from us. This could be a telephone call, letter, email or text message. At this point, if for any reason you cannot make the required payment, you must contact your Income Officer immediately.
Please see Meet the Income Team for contact details.
If after the first reminder you do not pay your arrears, or if your arrears continue to rise, you will be sent a second reminder. This will normally be a letter, but we may also telephone, email or text you to ask you to discuss the matter with us and pay your arrears.
If we don't hear from you or you do not make arrangements to clear the debt, we will send you a "Notice of Seeking Possession"
If your arrears still remain unpaid, then you will be served with a notice explaining that Estuary intends to commence legal proceedings to gain possession of your home. You will have a maximum of 28 days to clear the debt or enter into a suitable agreement before your case is referred to court.
If the matter is referred to court, Estuary will apply for a "Possession Order". You will be informed of any court date by letter. The court will decide on the evidence given by Estuary and your information as to the type of Order to be awarded. The majority of possession order are:
- Postponed or Suspended which means it is agreed that you pay off your arrears by making a weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments in additional to your rent.
- Adjourned, means a new date for the case will be set. This is normally done when a housing benefit claim is outstanding.
- Outright, this means you will be advised of a date by which you need to leave your home. If you do not do this and eviction warrant will be requested.
In all cases you will be responsible for paying any court costs and legal costs the Association has incurred.
You should always attend court hearings and seek independent legal advice.
Warrant of Eviction
After an Outright Possession Order has been granted or if you fail to make the required payments after a Suspended Order we will apply for a warrant to evict you from your home. This will only be applied for when all other attempts to recover the arrears have failed. You will be notified of the date of eviction. You have the right to apply to have the warrant suspended, see Eviction Advice.
Eviction is always a last resort, however evictions do occur and these can be single people, couples or families. Always contact us as soon as you are having financial problems. We will help where we can.
If you are evicted because you have failed to pay your rent, you may be deemed "intentionally homeless" and may have difficulty in finding somewhere else to live.
If, at any point, you are in rent arrears and cannot pay them all off at once, you must contact your Income Officer as soon as possible. They can be contacted by telephone, letter, email or in person. You can also request a home visit if this is more convenient. Agreements can normally be made to pay off arrears in installments. How much these installments will be depends on the level of debt and your circumstances. The important thing is that once an agreement is made it should be kept to. Failure to keep to an agreement will lead to the next stage of our procedure for recovering arrears.
Some residents will be in receipt of benefits, which will cover some or all of the rent. It is the resident’s responsibility to make sure that all forms and supporting information are provided on time and rent is paid. It is not the responsibility of Estuary to make sure housing benefit gets paid or that it continues to be paid. Please note that if you do not ensure you pay your rent or ensure that benefits get paid, then legal action for recovery of the arrears will commence.
Our website provides a benefits calculator which can give you advice. Simply answer questions anonymously online about your savings, income and outgoings.