Tenancy arrears

Your tenancy agreement explains your responsibility to pay rent in advance. If you fail to do so, we have a responsibility to our other tenants to collect the arrears. At the same time, we understand that things happen which can lead to you falling behind in your rent.

We want to be reasonable landlords, so the most important step you can take is to get in touch with us as soon as you realise you are falling behind in your rent, so that we can look at the situation together and look at the options available.

If you don’t take action quickly, it can lead to legal action and that could mean eviction.

If you can’t pay your rent, go to your Local Services Centre now. We will treat your case privately and fairly. If you prefer to do it over the phone, call 03451 55 00 44.

We understand it’s difficult to get by on a limited budget, so we're ready to help you sort things out. For example, there may be benefits available to you that you are not claiming. The Council has qualified benefits advisors who can talk through your circumstances and advise you on the best way forward.

If you fall behind with your rent, you will get a letter if you miss your first fortnight, just to let you know you can catch up. If you don’t get in touch after the first letter, we will follow that up with further reminders. We will also try to contact you by phone or visit you at home.

Again, talk to us about the arrears. We can help by:

  • offering confidential advice on making a realistic arrangement to pay back rent due
  • helping you with benefits
  • putting you in touch with other agencies for advice if you owe more than just rent


Making an arrangement is the start…keeping the arrangement is what counts! If you break the arrangement then we are likely to take court action against you and ask the court for permission to evict you.

If your arrears reach £250 and we don’t have an agreement to pay the debt in place, we will send you a formal `Notice’ that we can start court action within the next 6 months. This Notice goes to everyone in your home over the age of 15 years 6 months, even if they are not joint tenants with you.

Even at this stage we are still making every effort to work with you to help you keep your home but you have to be seen to be trying to pay back the debt.

If we still cannot see your arrears coming down after the Notice, we will ask the court for a date to have your case heard. You will get a letter telling you the date. It is vital that you get help at this stage and that you come to court to explain your situation.

What can happen in court?

If your case gets to court, three things can happen:

  • we prove to the Sheriff that you have arrears and that it would be reasonable to take away your tenancy. We will then arrange for you to be evicted. You will still be due the rent as well as court expenses
  • your case can be set aside if you make an arrangement in Court to repay a regular amount. So long as you keep the arrangement, you will not have to go back to court for eviction
  • the Sheriff will hold off a decision for a set number of weeks to allow for more information or action to be taken


Remember, you will be liable to cover the costs involved in any court action and after eviction you still be expected to pay the arrears under our former tenant arrears policy.
 

Service Standards

1st letter when rent balance exceeds £20.
2nd letter if balance still not cleared or suitable arrangement in place.
3rd letter if balance still not cleared or suitable arrangement in place.
First personal contact attempts made between 4 and 6 weeks arrears.
 

Costs

Tenants liable to meet the legal costs of court actions.
 


For more information contact

Rent Payment & Arrears (lines open 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
Tel: 03451 55 00 44
By Post: Fife Council, Fife House, North Street, Glenrothes, KY7 5LT
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