Rent arrears

If you miss your rent payments or are late paying rent, you’re in rent arrears.

Your landlord can evict you if you’re in rent arrears - you could lose your home.

Getting notice of an eviction for rent arrears

How much notice your landlord has to give you that you’re being evicted for rent arrears depends on the type of tenancy you have.

Your landlord has to give you 2 weeks’ notice if both of the following apply:

  • you’re in rent arrears or often in rent arrears
  • you have an assured shorthold tenancy or an assured tenancy

They need to use a ‘section 8’ notice.

If you do not leave the property by the end of the notice period, your landlord can apply to the court to evict you.

If you have an assured shorthold tenancy

Your landlord can also evict you without giving a reason, whether you’re in rent arrears or not.

They need to use a ‘section 21’ notice. They have to give you at least 2 months to move out before they can apply to take you to court.

If your landlord issues you a section 8 and a section 21 notice and they have different eviction dates, you could be taken to court if you do not move out by whichever date is soonest.

If you have a regulated tenancy or excluded tenancy or licence

There are different rules on when your landlord can evict you or take you to court.

If your landlord takes you to court to evict you

If they’re evicting you with a section 8 notice, they need to prove to the court that you’re in arrears.

The court will approve the eviction if your rent is:

  • 2 months late, and you pay monthly
  • 8 weeks late, and you pay weekly

If your rent is not that late, the court will consider whether eviction would be ‘reasonable and proportionate’ when making a decision.

The court can decide not to approve the eviction, but set conditions you have to meet to stay in your home. For example:

  • paying your landlord the rent you owe by a certain date
  • not falling into rent arrears again

Find out about eviction court hearings.

Help if you cannot afford rent

You can speak to a debt advisor for help handling your rent arrears.

You can also:

Depending on your situation, you may be able to:

If you get Universal Credit or Housing Benefit

You can apply for a discretionary housing payment to help with your rent.

If you get Universal Credit and you’re at least 2 months late on rent, you or your landlord can ask for your rent to be paid straight to your landlord. This is called an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).