Late tenancy arrears and evictions
Rent arrears are what you owe in unpaid rent.
You need to pay your arrears as quickly as possible and ideally in 1 payment, to clear the whole amount.
We do realise this is not always possible. If you are unable do this, you should contact us as soon as possible to make an agreement to repay the money you owe.
Not able to pay
Contact us on 0300 300 8042 if you know you are not going to be able to pay your arrears or keep to the agreement made.
If you do encounter problems paying your arrears, you should always keep us informed.
If you are in arrears, do not ignore your arrears or letters from us as if we do not hear from you, we will refer your debt on to court. They will collect the arrears from you.
You can also get advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau.
A mistake in your rent account
If you think there has been a mistake, you should contact us immediately and we will be able to examine your rent account and sort out any problems.
Death of the tenant
If you are the late tenant's representative as the tenant has died, please contact us and let us know if there are any funds with which to pay the arrears.
Succession – what happens to a tenancy when someone dies?
During such a turbulent and emotional time, you may be worried about what will happen to the tenancy and what will happen to you.
For more information (PDF 1.3MB) please see our succession factsheet.
We have a duty to collect all rent, as the income is vital to fund other housing services. We will always take reasonable steps to try to resolve tenancy or rent arrears problems. However, if all else fails, we will have to apply to the court to repossess a property.
Reasons for eviction
The most common reason for eviction is non-payment of rent, although it is possible for that if tenants are breaching any other aspect of their tenancy agreement they may be evicted.
There is no guarantee that the courts will not evict households with children.
No obligation to rehouse
We or other registered social landlords usually have no obligation to rehouse those tenants who have been evicted for non-payment of rent.
If you are evicted you will need to find alternative accommodation for yourself and anyone else who is living with you (including pets).
The court will advise the date and time that the bailiff will arrive. A representative from housing services will also be there.
They will change the locks of the house and clear belongings that remain in the property.
The earlier you take action or get advice the better. It is more difficult to make agreements at a late stage. You may apply for the warrant of possession to be suspended. The court will then reconsider your case but may not agree to alter the decision.
Please remember, if you are having difficulties paying your rent you should firstly:
- speak to us immediately when you become aware of any difficulties
- get advice, for example from a Citizens' Advice Bureau
- keep making regular payments, no matter how small they are
What happens in court
Preparing for court
Make sure you have made child care arrangements as children are not permitted in the courts.
Make sure you arrive in good time, however, be prepared to wait for your hearing, they do not always happen on time.
If you wish to bring someone with you for support that is fine.
When you arrive in court
You will be asked to empty your pockets and you will be searched.
Report to the Ushers desk advise the Usher who you are and the time of your hearing and Possession Claims On-Line (PCOL) number.
A member of the Income Management Team will be attending, speak to the officer as it may not be too late to make an agreement.
The Usher will call your case Central Bedfordshire Council versus you, both yourself and the Income Management Officer will then go with the Usher into a private court room where your case will be heard in front of a District Judge.
The Judge will use equipment to record the evidence.
Please address the Judge as Sir or Madam.
The options Judges have
This means that the District Judge can withdraw your case if the rent account is brought up to date and there are no arrears.
This means that the District Judge has decided that no order will be made against you, however we can relist/re-apply your case back to court for another hearing, within a one year, if your arrears is not kept clear within that time. We may ask for court cost which will be added to your rent account.
Adjourn on terms
This means that the District Judge adjourned your case on terms and if you pay the agreed amount on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on your preference; however, if you default on payment and the agreement proposal is not kept to, we can relist/reapply your case back to court for another hearing. You may incur court costs which will be added to your rent account.
Suspended Possession Order
This means that the District Judge has ruled that you should pay an agreed amount, this includes your current rent plus an amount to reduce your rent arrears. If you break the order, we can apply for a warrant to evict you. You will incur court costs which will be added to your rent account.
County Court Judgement will also be awarded which may affect your credit rating.
This means that the District Judge has awarded the Council Outright Possession, Money Judgement, Use & Occupation and the Council can apply for a warrant to evict you in the time specified by the order, this can be immediately or after 7, 14, 21 or 28 days. You will incur court costs which will be added to your rent account.
This means that the District Judge uses his/her discretion to award or reserve court costs, this can apply, where cases have been adjourned, however if your case is brought back to court before the Judge can award the Council court cost, if the council is awarded court costs the costs will be added to your rent account.
Where can I get advice from?
Contact Income Management Team on 0300 300 8042 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Luton County Court
The Mall 351
Telephone: 0300 123 5577
Milton Keynes County Court
Telephone: 01908 302800
Shelter Housing Advice Helpline
Telephone: 0808 800 4444
Citizens Advice - Dunstable
The Dunstable Centre
Telephone: 01582 670003
Citizens Advice - Leighton Buzzard
Telephone: 01525 373878