Dealing with rent arrears
For many landlords (and tenants) rent and rent arrears are one of the most frequent areas for worry, problems and dispute. It is therefore something that the landlord must ensure that they follow the correct procedures however difficult that might be.
There could be a number of reasons that your tenant fails to pay their rent. These may include:
- Change of bank account;
- Forgot to make a bank transfer;
- Lost their job;
- Cut in working hours;
- One of the joint tenants has moved out;
- Waiting to make a claim for housing benefit;
- It is one of the easiest payments to ignore.
For landlords it is therefore important to have a structured approach or plan as to how to deal with rent arrears. The following suggests an approach but landlords are recommended to seek appropriate advice as allowing things to drift will make the situation increasingly difficult for all parties.
- Send a polite reminder letter or make a polite phone call;
- Consider proposals for payment of arrears via a series of smaller payments;
- Send weekly reminder letters before sending a final demand;
- Communicate with tenant that you will now need to take legal action;
- Serve a Section 8 possession notice, preferably by recorded delivery.
Remember to keep records of all correspondence and contact with the tenant. Also remember that you should call in advance of visiting your tenant regarding any arrears. Some landlords find themselves facing harassment proceedings for being too proactive.
Stick to the terms of the tenancy agreement and leave the enforcement to the courts; do not take matters into your own hands.
If you know your tenant is in receipt of housing benefit from Boston Borough Council you should contact the Revenues and Benefits Section at the Council to speak to them. You might be able to arrange direct payment of any housing benefit to you to stop the rent arrears increasing.