If you stop paying your rent and service charges you put your home at risk.
We have a robust arrears recovery process which could lead to your home being repossessed. We may also consider applying to forfeit your lease. However, we understand people do sometimes run into difficulty through no fault of their own – the earlier you contact us to discuss your situation the better.
Our arrears recovery procedure:
Stage 1 – prevention
If you’re struggling to pay your rent, contact us immediately on 0300 303 1010.
It’s important to let us know as soon as possible to stop debts building up that will be difficult to repay.
Stage 2 – prompt action
- If you miss a payment and we haven’t heard from you to explain why we will contact you. We will also:
- Check that direct/debits/standing orders are being paid for the correct amount
- Check that all payments made have reached your account
- Make an agreement with you to pay in instalments if you can’t pay the arrears in full immediately
- Let your mortgage provider know that you are in arrears
- Ask your mortgage provider to pay the arrears for you if you’re unable or unwilling to pay them yourself. They will get the money back by adding it to your mortgage.
If we don’t get full payment of your arrears or an agreement to pay by instalments, we will take legal action. This will either be through the small claims court or by serving a Notice of Seeking Possession.
Stage 3 – small claims court or possession proceedings
Small claims process
If the arrears stay the same we would go to the small claims court to get the money owed. We would apply to get a Money Judgement Order for the arrears. The court will order you to pay the arrears. If you still don’t pay there are several other orders we can apply for. If you still fail to carry out the terms of the court order we will apply to the court for an order for your home to be sold so the debt can be paid to us.
We would take this action of the arrears are increasing. If we don’t hear from you or you fail to stick to an agreed plan to clear the arrears and there has been no change in your circumstances, we will consider legal action.
We may serve as Notice of Seeking Possession using Ground 8 or Ground 10 for rent arrears. Under the terms of the 1988 Housing Act, shared owners are considered to be assured tenants.
Serving this notice is the first step to asking the court to make an order to require you to pay or give us authority to repossess your home.
If the notice is served using Mandatory Ground 8 b(Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988) for serious rent arrears and goes to court, the judge will have no alternative but to give us possession of your home and force sale. You will have the chance to appeal our decision to one of Paradigm’s Executive Directors.
Stage 4 – application to court upon expiry of the Notice of Seeking Possession
If you don’t stick to an agreement to pay to the arrears continue to increase, we will apply to the county court to repossess your home. We will contact or visit you before the court hearing to discuss what will happen at court. You should also contact Citizens’ Advice, a solicitor or housing advice centre to get independent advice.
Stage 5 - the court hearing
You must attend court as your home may be at risk. It will the only chance you have to talk to the judge, whose decision could mean that you lose your home. The judge will make an order requiring you to repay the arrears by an agreed amount each week. Alternatively you may be ordered to surrender possession of your home to us. You will also need to pay the costs of the court hearing, usually about £150. These costs will be added to your rent arrears.
Stage 6 – failing to keep to a court order
If you don’t keep to the court order, we will apply to the court to end your tenancy and force the sale of your home to repay the debt to us. This means that you and your family would need to leave. To stop this action, you would have to pay the full amount outstanding. You also have the right to apply to the court to ask for this action to be postponed.
Stage 7 – what happens if I leave the property owing you money?
If you hand in the keys we will take possession of your home, we will sell it and pay any outstanding mortgage payments and costs owed to your mortgage provider, then recover all money owed to us.
If there isn’t enough money to clear our debts we will write to your new address asking for full settlement within 28 days or for a repayment plan to be made. If the debt is not repaid or a repayment plan put in place and maintained we will refer the matter to a debt recovery agent. If you leave without providing a forwarding address we will refer the case to a tracing agent.
Mandatory Ground (8) in Schedule 2, Housing Act 1988, as amended buy the Housing Act 1996
Both at the date of the service of the notice under Section 8 if this Act relating to the proceedings for possession and at the date of the hearing
- If rent is payable weekly or fortnightly, at least eight weeks rent is unpaid
- if rent is payable monthly, at least two months’ rent is unpaid
Ground (10) in Schedule 2, Housing Act 1988, as amended by the Housing Act 1996
Some rent lawfully due from the tenant:
- a) is unpaid on the date on which the proceedings for possession are begun and
b ) except where Subsection (1)(b) of Section 8 of this Act applies, was in arrears at the date of service of the notice under that section relating to those proceedings.