Having problems paying the rent?
As a tenant you have an obligation to pay the rent in full when it is due. If you are having difficulties paying your rent or have built up rent arrears, it is important that you don't ignore the matter. It is advisable to inform your landlord at the earliest point possible and try and come up with a solution. It may be possible to negotiate with your landlord to repay the arrears over a period of time. Threshold may be able to help you in these negotiations. If you do negotiate a repayment plan, be realistic about the amount that you can afford to pay each week/month.
If you are in receipt of rent supplement and have been topping up to keep your tenancy contact Threshold for further advice and assistance. As part of a number of measures including increasing rent supplement limits announced on 28th June 2016, the Department of Social Protection, have advised that they will look at any informal any arrangements and in most cases may regularise these.
Clarify the amount of arrears
Your landlord must provide you with either a rent book where rent and other payments should be recorded. This should clearly show how much rent has been paid and how much you may owe. If you pay through the bank this must be recorded either in a rent book or through receipts.
Attempt to negotiate a rent reduction
It may be possible to negotiate a reduction in your rent with your landlord. Whatever you agree with your landlord, you should get it confirmed in writing so there can be no confusion at a later stage.
Help with paying your rent
If you are having difficulties in paying your rent, you may be able to apply for Rent Supplement from your local Department of Social Protection Representative (formerly Community Welfare Officer). This is a means tested payment available to people in the private rented sector who cannot afford to pay their rent.
If you are given notice due to rent arrears
If you fail to pay your rent in full when due, your tenancy may be at risk. There is a two-stage process for this:
- You must be given written notice of the fact that you are in arrears
- If after 14 days, you have not paid the rent to your landlord you may be given a minimum of 28 days written notice of termination.
The above applies if you have been renting for six months or more however if you are in a tenancy for under 6 months then, as part of the COVID-19 measures, your landlord must give at least 28 days notification of the arrears but cannot service a notice of termination during the three month period from 27th March 2020
Regardless of the amount of rent arrears, a landlord cannot seize your goods to force repayment, forcibly remove you or your belongings from the property, change the locks or cut off your utilities. To do so constitutes an illegal eviction. If this happens, you should contact your local Threshold office immediately.
What to do
- Don't ignore the matter, inform your landlord as soon as possible to attempt to find a solution
- Clarify the precise amount owing
- Negotiate a repayment plan; Threshold may be able to support you in this.
- Check to see if you are eligible for Rent Supplement
- The Money Advice and Budgeting Service provide advice on managing your finances and dealing with debt. Further information from: www.mabs.ie