CORONAVIRUS: Our offices are closed until further notice and we’re only carrying out a limited repairs service for now. Our phone lines remain open. For latest news, see our Coronavirus webpage

Man holding help sign surrounded by bills

Help with arrears

If you need advice or you are finding it difficult to pay your rent or other bills, there is help and support for you.

It is important that you pay your rent on time. It doesn't take long to fall into arrears, but it can take a long time to get straight again.

If your rent is not paid, the money owed is called 'rent arrears'. Rent arrears are 'priority debts', which mean the consequences of not dealing with them are serious - there is a risk of eviction.

We are committed to supporting you to take control of your finances and keep on top of your rent. We can make referrals to other agencies for advice to help you keep your tenancy and prevent homelessness.

  • What should I do if I miss a payment?
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    If you fall into arrears or know that you will find it difficult to pay, let us know immediately. It is important that you speak to us as soon as possible.

    We will give you confidential support and a range of help including:

    • Benefit entitlements.
    • Housing Benefit / Universal Credit claims.
    • Making a payment plan with you to clear the arrears.
    • Money management advice or referrals to specialist debt advice agencies.
  • What happens if I fall behind with my rent?
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    Our income team will contact you and take action if you fall into rent arrears which could ultimately result in the loss of your home.

    1. Notice of Seeking Possession 
      First you will receive a 'notice of seeking possession' (or 'notice of possession proceedings' if you are an introductory tenant). This gives you three months to pay the debt – this is two months longer than usual due to the current Coronavirus pandemic.

    2. Court hearing
      If you still do not pay, there will be a hearing at the county court. The court will make a court order for possession and you will have to pay court costs as well as the rent arrears.

    3. Eviction
      In line with government guidance, we will not be evicting any Cottsway customers during the global Coronavirus pandemic, but you may lose your home after if you have not paid your arrears.

    We always pursue tenants who have left their home with rent arrears and other debts and your priority on your council’s housing register will be affected if you leave your home owing rent arrears, court costs or recharged repair accounts.

  • Why have I received a rent letter?
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    You will receive a letter about your rent once a year – usually in May/June. It is a reminder to make sure your account is in credit. During this time, we also contact all our tenants in arrears.

  • I am a monthly payer - why have I received this letter?
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    Your rent is due weekly in advance so if you choose to pay your rent monthly you should make sure that your account is one month in credit to keep in line with the terms of your tenancy agreement. We appreciate that this may be difficult, however, if you can just pay a little extra each month to bring your account into credit this will really help.

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