Talk to landlord about arrears

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The first months of the year can be difficult for those who struggle to pay their rent. In this month’s column, Alex Byard offers advice to landlords and tenants who are trying to recover rent arrears.

It might sound obvious, but if you can’t pay your rent, don’t bury your head in the sand – avoiding your landlord will not improve things. There are a number of ways to address the situation, but my best advice would be to open communication with your landlord or letting agent to see if a payment arrangement can be agreed.

Sometimes landlords will be prepared to accept weekly instalments to cover the outstanding amount, or they may be willing to wait until the following rent day, providing you can assure them payment for both months will be made.

If solicitors are instructed to collect your rent, additional charges will be applied for all work undertaken. This clearly won’t help your financial situation, so it is best to deal with the issue before it gets this far.

Can someone pay on my behalf? Yes. If you are unable to come to an agreement with your landlord about repayment, it would be wise to ask a friend or family member to pay on your behalf.

It is becoming increasingly common for tenancy agreements to require a guarantor, who will be responsible for the rent if you fail to pay on time. It is important you are aware that if you do fall into arrears, your landlord can enforce the obligation on your guarantor.

There are a number of consequences for failing to pay rent. The most draconian measure your landlord can take is to commence the eviction process, alongside proceedings to recover the outstanding arrears, which could mean you receive a County Court Judgment (CCJ).

* Alex Byard is a specialist in property litigation at Sheffield’s Taylor&Emmet LLP. For more information, telephone 0114 218 4000, visit www.tayloremmet.co.uk and www.landlorddisputes.co.uk