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Can no longer afford rent and trapped in contract... help!(16 Posts)
Hello. NC for this.
There has been a material change in our circumstances that means we can no longer afford to pay our rent. I negotiated with the agent saying can we leave end of this month and he initially agreed after feeling sorry for us and our situation (DH is currently in a mental health institution being treated for anxiety and depression). I don't work as we have young DC.
Now the agent said he spoke to the landlord and said we are liable to pay for the rest of our contract which is until January 31st (we renewed earlier this year but I can't find the contract to see if there is no break clause).
We've been consistently late (a week or two) in paying rent recently although we do always pay it in full eventually. So they know we struggle to pay it as is.
We can't afford to go on for another month let alone 6. I was planning on asking the council for emergency housing until DH back on his feet to find another property. That's how bad it's got.. There really is no money we can give. Is there anything we can do?! The sooner we are free from this house the better.
Have you contacted your council? It some circumstances they will pay your rent for (I think) 13 weeks if you took out the contract when you were in a position to pay and your circumstances had since changed. I know that doesn't take you to January but it buys you a bit of time. I very much doubt there is anything you can do that would mean you're no longer liable for the debt.
Yup see about housing benefit and council tax benefit. You'll surely be entitled to something.
In fact, have you spoken to your council at all? If you end your contract, I think they can deem you having made yourself homeless, which means they don't put you at the top of the waiting list. You'd have to default on your rent and be evicted by a court order to be eligible for emergency housing, from what I've read.
Thanks for the replies. No I haven't spoken to the council at all but I might call them and ask what can be done.
I'm scared that if we get evicted by court order that would hamper us moving in to private rented accommodation in the future..?
If we stay in this house though my DH will have to declare himself bankrupt. The irony is to declare yourself bankrupt is about £600 to fill lodge the form... we don't even have the money to do that!!
There are charities that help you with the fee.
You'll probably find housing benefit and other benefits (JSA, ESA, tax credits) help.
Can you get a part time job? You'd get more help if you could manage to do 16 hours somewhere.
Call shelter. They will definitely be able to help with some up to date advice.
If you have to be evicted you will not be able to privately rent again. However most landlords will let you out of a contract if another tenant can be found - especially if you pay the agents finding fee to the landlord. (Not ideal in your situation but may get you out of there with your deposit intact, no legal stuff hanging over you and no hard feelings) hope this helps.
I would suggest talking to your council housing dept and Shelter and the CAB as soon as you can. I know this is really hard at a time when things are already a bit shit but you need good advice on what to do.
It is very hard for a landlord to evict you - usually takes over 6 months - and most would prefer you to leave if you cannot pay the rent. The agent may just be blustering. But there is a lot of legal stuff you need to get right to put yourself in the best position.
And be kind to yourself. This is clearly a difficult time and it's not like you spent the rent money on champagne and hookers. I hope your DH recovers soon.
Call your councils housing benefit department tomorrow and request a form be posted to you and call your letting agent and ask them to print your tenancy agreement as you'll need it for your claim.
If your partners job has ended you'll need his p45 or if he has gone on sick pay you'll need his pay slips but these can be provided after you've handed the application form in.
I'm 22 weeks pregnant so not sure how well job applications will go down!
DH is self-employed so while he is in hospital he's not earning or entitled to sick pay or anything which makes everything a bit more shit.
In the meanwhile, can you do a bit of cash in hand work, like ironing, cleaning, dog sitting, elder sitting, gardening?
Your landlord needs to get real. While the contract is indeed binding, that doesn't change that you can't afford the rent. So you won't pay it because you cannot. He then has to go through the long process to evict you. Meanwhile no rent because you can't afford it. So it makes much more sense for him to agree to let you surrender the tenancy.
The rent debt and legal costs will be assigned to you but you have no money so he won't get them paid.
Due to the UK housing shortage, councils will not provide housing of any sort until you are evicted. Leave earlier and they will happily tell you that you made yourself intentionally homeless. Not paying rent is also classed as intentionally homeless, but having small kids overrides that.
So the system encourages you to wait for eviction - awful, isnt it?
Definitely speak to the council, but also to your landlord explaining the facts. I hope he sees sense and wish you the best.
I found myself needing to move out before my contract ran out a few years ago (pregnant in small one bedroom flat). The letting agent was brilliant and she found someone else to rent it quickly so I could leave the contract.
Maybe try talking again or ask to speak to the landlord yourself.
Make an application for housing benefit. Apply for rehousing through your council (this will not happen overnight but is worth doing). Start a JSA claim yourself- yes, pregnancy makes you actually getting a job less likely, but doesn't prevent you meeting the requirements to claim JSA. Explore whethe your DH has any entitlement to ESA or PIP whilst unwell (in the MH hospital I work in, we have a benefits specialist, if your DH's has similar they should be able to advise and support).
I hope your DH recovers quickly and that you both get the support you need. Your ll sounds like a fool, tbh- you can't get money from people who have none so rather than trying to make you give them what you haven't got they'd be far better off seeking new tenants.
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