Tenants who are renting a home or flat from a social housing landlord have several schemes that can help them pay their rent. Some of the assistance available, such as financial help from charities or loans from lenders, are for people in all types of homes. However, there are some rental assistance programmes, including housing benefits, that are aimed only at helping tenants who live in social housing and that are also in arrears on their monthly payments.
Social housing is government backed. It was created to help families on a low income so that they could have a place to live even if their wages are lower than what it would cost to pay rent on another home. It is for the unemployed, people living in poverty, or even those on benefits (including Universal Credit) can access the properties. Local council’s allocate the properties to families or individuals, even though the flat or home is owned by landlords. Though the property owner needs to be registered with the council.
Social housing rental arrears assistance
Anyone that is falling behind on their payments can apply for assistance. There are a few places to turn to for help, including council schemes, charities, grant based aid, and low interest loans. Other financial help may be provided as well. Each of the programmes has different criteria for applying. They are also each aimed at different types of scenarios.
Loans can be used to pay rental arrears on social housing. It is not recommended to turn to a payday lender or other high-priced company. Instead families on a local income can ring the following organizations for help. The funds are often provided in short notice. Or find additional emergency loans for rental arrears.
- Credit Unions – They can provide budgeting advice, small dollar loans, and help clients enter the banking system.
- Councils – They often have loan schemes as well. Or they can link the client to a central government programme. Find more information on council loan schemes for paying bills.
- Budgeting Advances – The central government provides money to families who are on benefits, including JobSeekers Allowance, Disability, or Universal Credit.
There are many charities that can assist families or individuals with their rent arrears if they live in social housing. Some are aimed at immigrants in the UK and others are more wide ranging in who can get help. Most of the assistance for social housing arrears is in the form of grant based aid. They will combine this emergency financial help with free advice on budgeting, programmes for reducing debt, and more. Some charities even provide shelter for anyone who was evicted from social housing, and this is provided along with free grants or vouchers.
If court action has been started, then legal action can be used to contest the eviction. There are lawyers (including solicitors as well as barristers) that can help tenants dispute the eviction. Firms are located across the UK in all cities, counties, and boroughs. The legal services are provided for free to families in poverty or that are on a low income.
ADR, or the Alternative dispute resolution, is a free service that social housing tenants who are in rent arrears can use. The number to ring is 07904 377460, and it provides renters with information. The aim is to get the two parties (tenant and landlord) to negotiate a plan that will stop the eviction/homelessness from occurring.
Housing benefit can be used to delay the eviction. If the family is applying for this government scheme, or currently receiving rent assistance from it, then the landlord needs to take certain action. All of this needs to be done before an eviction can occur. They are required per regulations to negotiate with the tenant. The amount needs to be what the family can afford to pay on the rent (both arrears and going forward).
The landlord of the social housing also needs to give the tenant time. It needs to account for a local authority to review the application for housing benefits. If the tenant needs time to wait on the assessment to be completed by the government, then the landlord needs to wait before going to housing court.
Any type of family who is renting social housing does have options available to them. The flats will be more affordable, and ideally the tenant will not fall into arrears, but if it occurs they can get help.