What to do if you have rent arrears

The tenancy conditions you sign at the start of your tenancy mean that by law, you must pay your rent regularly and not get into arrears. It is your responsibility to keep your rent account up to date.

This page gives you information about:

What to do if you get into arrears

If you get into arrears, don't ignore it;  contact us and let us know. If you do not contact us, we will contact you in writing or by phone, we may even send you a text message.

You need to pay the arrears as quickly as possible, ideally in one payment, to clear the whole amount.

Getting advice and support

If you have problems making your rent payments it is important that you get in touch and keep us informed. You will be able to speak to an income officer, who will give you advice and try to help find a way to solve the problem. We may allow you to repay the arrears in instalments.

You can also get advice from local advice agencies who can help you if you are having difficulty dealing with multiple debts.

Worried about Benefit changes

If you are worried about the Government's changes to benefits affecting your ability to pay your rent, contact us. We have a dedicated Welfare Reform team who can give you advice and find out what help is available.

Housing benefit

You may be entitled to housing benefit to help with your rent. Contact Lambeth Benefit Services on 0345 302 2312 for further details.

You can apply for housing benefit online or by downloading a housing benefit application form.

What happens if you do not clear your arrears

We will contact you by phone, letter or visit you at home to discuss your arrears, arrange payment and resolve any other problems.

If this action is not successful we will take legal action against you. If you do not arrange to pay off the arrears within the following four weeks, we will apply to the county court for a possession order for the rent you owe.

For more details of action we may take against you can be found in the Tenant and homeowner Handbooks.

What to do if you think there is a mistake on your rent account

Contact us on 0800 088 0088. We will be able to examine your rent account and sort out any problems.

If a payment you made is not showing on your account, you will need to bring (or send) your receipt into your local area office, so the payment can be traced and to ensure that the correct amount is put into your rent account.

What to do if you are waiting for housing benefits to be paid

You should contact us. Housing benefit claims should be sorted out within four weeks of the Lambeth Benefit Service receiving your claim form. You can also contact the Lambeth Benefit Service on 0345 302 2312 to find out the progress of your claim.

We may be able to calculate whether you are entitled to housing benefit, this will be an estimate based on the information you provide. The actual amount you could pay once your Housing Benefit has been assessed could be higher or lower than the estimate we gave you.

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.

Housing benefit does not pay for water rates or heating and hot water charges, even if they are included in your rent. You will still have to pay that proportion of the rent (plus, where appropriate, charges for garages, car spaces and home insurance) yourself.

Rent enquiries

If you have any queries about your rent account contact us:


Call: 0800 088 0088

In person: drop in to see us at our Union Road office

Attend a rent surgery

Benefit changes - help available

If you are worried about the benefit changes

affecting your ability to pay rent we can help.

Find out about help available, get advice about money, bank accounts, use our online benefit calculators or find out more about the Understanding changes to benefits