Rent arrears in local authority housing


If you are renting your home from a local authority, you have agreed to pay a weekly rent, which is based on your household's income. If your income is reduced, you should contact the local authority immediately to look for an adjustment in your rent.

If you find you are falling behind with the rent, for whatever reason, you will build up an amount of rent arrears. It is vital to talk to the local authority to discuss these arrears. You may be able to agree with the local authority to pay a certain amount off the rent arrears each week.

If you don’t arrange to pay off the arrears, you could end up losing your home.

Many local authorities have tenancy sustainment programmes to help support tenants, particularly if they are in rent arrears. You should ask your local authority for this assistance as early as possible.

There is a hardship clause that gives local authorities the ability to reduce a household's rent if there are particular reasons to do so. For example, the local authority may reduce your rent if your household is badly affected by exceptional social factors that make it difficult for it to function or to pay the rent due, or if it would cause undue hardship for your household to pay the full rent.

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) is a free, confidential service for people who are having problems with debt and money management. Anyone can experience these problems and MABS staff are fully trained to help. The MABS service is available through the national network of MABS offices. Read more about the MABS service.

Where to apply

Contact the Housing Department of your local authority.

To speak to a MABS adviser, you can call the helpline: 0761 07 2000 (9am - 8pm, Monday - Friday) or email: or contact your local MABS office.

Page edited: 26 August 2015