Rent arrears: social housing

Everyone has to pay rent and some service charges for their home, even those who receive full housing benefit. Unfortunately, sometimes people stop paying and end up with rent arrears.

If you are registered for transfer and build up more than one week's rent or service charge arrears, you will be suspended from bidding or being made an offer for a new property.

If you do nothing about your arrears, you may be evicted. If this happens it is unlikely that Westminster or any other local authority will be able to offer you alternative social housing.

Here's what you can do to avoid getting into debt.

1. Tell someone

Contact City of Westminster Housing and they will advise you what to do to solve the problem.

You might prefer to get independent advice from an agency such as the Citizen's Advice Bureau or Shelter.

The quicker you call, the easier it is to sort the problem out. Ignoring it will not make it go away.

2. Check you're claiming the right benefits

Often people end up in arrears because they do not claim benefits to which they are entitled.

If you are having difficulties with housing benefit, let City of Westminster Housing know and they may be able to help.

3. Consider a direct debit

Setting up a direct debit to pay your weekly rent on time can keep you out of arrears. This way, you know you are always up to date and don't have to remember to pay each week. Speak to City of Westminster Housing if you would like to set this up.

4. Make an agreement

If you do have arrears, we will not expect you to pay them off in one go. It is usually possible for you to make an agreement to pay at an affordable rate.

Last updated: 1 May 2019