If your landlord wants to evict you because you haven't been paying your rent, the money you owe is called rent arrears.
If you're being evicted because of rent arrears, your landlord first has to follow a set of steps to try to help you out before they can ask the court to have you evicted.
Your landlord has to:
- give you clear information about the terms of your tenancy agreement, the rent you pay or any other costs you owe your landlord
- make an effort to offer you help and advice on housing benefit or other financial help that might be available to you
- give you information on where you can get help managing your debts
- try to agree a payment plan with you so you can pay your rent back
- give you a chance to apply for housing benefits, stick to a payment plan or take any other steps to help before they start the eviction process
- encourage you to contact the council for help (if your landlord isn't the council)
Your landlord can only start an eviction action for rent arrears once they've followed the above steps.
The sheriff will decide if you should be evicted by considering a number of factors, including:
- how much your rent arrears come to
- how likely it is that you'll be able to repay the arrears and any other future rent
- the reason you got into debt – like illness, unemployment or benefit problems
- what will happen if you're evicted – whether you and your family will become homeless and if you'll be able to easily find a new home
- how long you've been a tenant at the home and how good a tenant you were until your rent arrears started
- if you have a joint tenancy, whether only one of you is responsible for paying the debt – if the other tenant is paying their share of the rent they might not be evicted
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