Frequently asked questions about rent
What causes rent arrears?
Rent arrears are caused by:
- paying late
- paying too little
- missing a payment
What happens if I get into rent arrears?
We take rent arrears very seriously. While we give every consideration to residents who are in genuine difficulty, our first priority is to collect all rent due, so we can provide the services you need.
- We will contact you to discuss your arrears, arrange payment and sort out any other problems
- We will ask you to pay the arrears in one lump sum or ask you to make realistic and affordable payments to clear your arrears over a period of time
- We will serve a ‘notice of seeking possession’ or a 'notice of possession proceedings'. These are legal notices telling you that we intend to take legal action if you do not pay your arrears
- We will apply to court to seek possession of your home.
This means that when all else fails, we do evict residents who have not paid their rent. If you are evicted for rent arrears, the council or other local authorities may have no obligation to rehouse you - even if you have a family.
What should I do if I owe rent arrears?
Pay the rent arrears as quickly as possible, ideally in one payment, to clear the whole amount. If you can't do this, please contact us. You will be able to talk to an arrears officer, who will give you advice and try to help you find a way to solve the problem.
If you do have problems, it is important to tell us. You may be able to get help with your rent through a claim for housing benefit - see information on claiming housing benefit.
We can refer you to an independent local advice agency for specialist benefit and money advice and we can make an appointment for you with the Citizens Advice Bureau for independent advice.
NEVER ignore the problem – ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Ignoring your arrears may result in you facing legal action, court costs or even losing your home.
NEVER ignore any letters from us. Please contact us as soon as possible to talk to an arrears officer, who will work with you to help find a way to solve the problem.
How can I contact a Rent Arrears Officer?
You can get in touch with your rent arrears officer at:
Tower Hamlets Homes
PO Box 66355
Tel: 020 7364 5015
What should I do if I think there is a mistake on my rent account?
If you think there has been a mistake, please contact us. We will be able to investigate and sort out any problems. If you have made a payment, but it is not showing on your account, you will need to bring your payment receipt to the office (or send it), so we can make sure that the correct amount is put onto your account.
What should you do if you are in arrears and waiting for housing benefit to be paid?
If you are waiting for housing benefit to be paid, contact us. We may be able to tell you whether you will be able to get housing benefit. Housing benefit claims should be sorted out within four weeks of the housing benefit team receiving your claim form. We will not usually take legal action against you if we know you are waiting for a claim to be sorted out, and you are making payments. Remember that housing benefit does not pay for water rates (or charges for garages, car spaces, store sheds or home insurance), even if it is included in your rent - you will still have to pay these charges yourself.
How do I sign up for MyTHH?
If you are a tenant or leaseholder you will be able to look up your rent or leasehold account online. We have introduced a new service called MyTHH that allows you to:
- Check your rent balance online
- Check your leasehold account and invoices
- Check recent payments to your account, including housing benefits
- Raise a repair online
- Track the progress of your repairs
Go to MyTHH for more information
My heating has broken down, which I pay as part of my rent. What will happen if I stop paying for the service?
If you just stop paying for the service without telling us, your your rent and service charge account will go into arrears. We take arrears very seriously and we will take action to recover them, which could lead to you losing your home. Please don’t just stop paying, contact us. If you qualify for a rent refund, we will arrange to refund your account for the period you were without the service.
What happens if my joint-tenant moves out?
As joint tenants, you are both responsible for your home and for the payment of rent. If one of you leaves your home, the remaining person must pay the full rent. Contact your local housing office for more details. If you receive housing benefit, you must tell the council's housing benefits team.
What happens if I have rent arrears when I move out?
If you owe rent at the end of a tenancy, we will pursue these. If you are a former tenant who owes rent, it’s important that you contact us to discuss these issues. If you can't pay the debt off in one go, we could negotiate repayment by instalments. As a last resort, we will take the former tenant to court to get an ‘order for payment’. The addition of court costs makes this an expensive option for the former tenant.
Where else can I get advice?
You can also get advice from a local advice agency. If you have a question about rent or need further help, get in touch. We're here to help.