Landlords who have tenants with rent arrears may wish to seek legal advice, and OpenRent has legal partners who can assist via a free helpline. Please let us know if you require these details.
Legal action should be a last resort
Proceeding through court is not anyone's idea of fun, it can be an expensive and time consuming process. So what's the alternative?
Can you resolve the situation amicably?
- Talk to your tenant to understand why they haven’t been able to pay yet and when they are likely to be able to.
- Make sure you agree a deadline/schedule in writing if you don’t intend to start eviction proceedings immediately.
- If they don’t meet the agreed time-frame, you can choose to agree a new one, but this risks increasing your exposure.
- If your tenant receives housing benefit, check if they could apply to the local authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
- Issue a Section 8 and/or 21 notice to evict your tenant. Our blog post explains how to do this in more detail here.
- Agree with the tenants when they will leave the property and repay the money.
- Apply for a possession order if they don’t leave.
Reclaiming money owed
- Issue the tenant a money reclaim form for any outstanding arrears (this can be done online if you’re claiming a fixed amount of rent).
- If the tenancy was subject to rental insurance, contact the insurer.
- Contact the agency that holds the deposit to make a claim for the money.
- If the tenancy had a guarantor, you can claim the money from them too.
- If the court orders the debtor to pay and they still do not, options to enforce the judgement include debt collection and having money deducted from their wages.