What could happen if I don't pay my rent?
It is important to keep your rent payments up to date. If you fall behind and do not contact us, there are a number of steps we will go through to help you get back on track so that you avoid losing your home.
The sooner you call us, the easier it will be for us to help.
Stage 1 (Information)
- Letter 1
- sent after your first missed payment
- Letter 2
- sent after your second missed payment and after we have tried to contact you by phone
- Letter 3
- sent if you continue not to pay rent and if you haven’t contacted us about your payments
If you receive any of these letters you should contact us as soon as possible.
We can take payments over the phone or discuss other ways that you can catch up and we can also check to make sure that you are getting the right benefits.
Stage 2 (Warning)
- Notice of seeking possession (NSP)
- this is a legal notice informing you that we are about to start court proceedings to recover unpaid rent
- Court referral
- this will be issued no less than 28 days after you receive a NSP if you haven’t contacted us about your rent account
You can stop us taking you to court by contacting our income team to discuss how we can help you get your rent account back in the clear.
Stage 3 (Danger)
If we take you to court and you still have arrears at the time of the possession hearing, a District Judge may grant the following:
- A final (7, 14 or 28 day) possession order granting you a certain amount of time before you should surrender the keys to your home.
- A suspended possession order, where possession is granted to us but suspended providing you continue to reduce the arrears at the rate set by the District Judge.
- If the arrears have been reduced to a low level by the day of the possession hearing, the District Judge may adjourn the case with liberty to restore. This means we can return to court for a new hearing at any time over the next 12 months should you fall into arrears again.
Even if we’ve taken you to court, we can still help if you contact us.
If you fail to maintain the terms of a final or suspended possession order, you are at serious risk of being evicted.
Remember that if you are evicted the court may also give us right to recover any unpaid rent you owe, even after you have left your home.
A court order can also affect your credit rating, meaning that you will find it more difficult to get a loan, buy goods on hire purchase agreements or get services like mobile phones on a contract.
Stage 4 (Eviction)
This is when an eviction date is set and a warrant for possession is executed.
On receiving confirmation of an eviction, you should seek independent legal advice or contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or our Housing Advice team.
If you are behind with your rent you can contact our Income team on 01438 242666.
Stevenage Borough Council