Things to do if you are struggling to pay rent because of the impact of coronavirus
1. Review your budget and benefit entitlements
It’s useful to review your budget if you’re struggling to pay your rent. In doing so, you might be able to make savings and can then use this money to help pay for it. If you can’t make the full rent payment, it will be good if you can make part of the payment. The more you pay, the more options your landlord might give you.
First, work out your income. Include any monthly income from employment, benefits, tax credits, pensions, maintenance and any other income. Add these together to get your total income.
Next, write down your total expenses - everything that you need to spend money on each month. This includes rent or mortgage, utilities bills, other costs such as council tax, food, your phone bill, travelling expenses, money you spend on debt, like loans, credit cards and child care costs, for example. Make sure you include everything. Then add up all of these things.
Then, do a quick sum: your total income minus your total expenses. You will either have a surplus or not enough money to pay all of your expenses. If you have a surplus, you can plan what you want to spend it on. That might include saving some of it..
To help, you can use the free Lloyds Bank online budget calculator.
You may not have enough money to pay some or all of your rent. To begin with, look at your expenses to see if there are any you can cut or reduce. If you still don’t have enough money to pay your expenses, it’s best to get debt advice. You can get free expert, debt advice from Mental Health and Money Advice.
You may be entitled to welfare benefits such as universal credit. You can find out about your benefits entitlements by using the Turn2us online benefits calculator. You can get expert advice on your entitlement to benefits by contacting your local Citizen’s Advice or by finding a benefits adviser through the Turn2us website.
2. Contact your landlord
If you’re unable to pay your rent, it’s best to contact your landlord as soon as possible. Taking action and contacting your landlord is much better than doing nothing, which could make things worse. It’s also a positive way of taking control of the situation.
Your landlord may want to talk to you to see what options they can provide. They’ll probably be willing to work out a plan of repayment with you, as it can be a time consuming and expensive process for landlords to find reliable new tenants.
Before contacting your landlord, it’s a good idea to review your budget so that you know how much rent you’re able to afford. It will also help to make notes about what you want to say to them, including any relevant figures.
3. Remind your landlord about coronavirus protection for tenants
The Government has provided protection for tenants during the coronavirus crisis. This means your landlord can’t evict you at the moment.
4. Get advice if your landlord sends you an eviction notice
If you get an eviction notice, make sure you write down what you received and when you received it. Landlords must follow specific procedures when issuing eviction notices. So, this information will be useful if there is a possession hearing. Also, there are temporary rules to protect tenants from eviction during the coronavirus crisis.
You can get expert advice on your rights by contacting your local Citizen’s Advice or by searching for housing advisers on the Turn2us website.
5. Research your renting options
You can do some local research in your area to see what other renting options are available. Having an alternative can make you feel less stressed and make you aware of your options.
You can call your local authority housing department for advice on how to find local properties to rent. Find out more from the UK Government. You can also search on the internet or on via apps.