Let’s be clear about something – everybody can get into financial difficulty through absolutely no fault of their own.
The pandemic is probably the best demonstration of how we are now likely to have a lot more empathy for people who find themselves in financial difficulty through no fault of their own. Businesses that were otherwise viable found themselves with a pronounced and sudden drop in income that, without government support, would have meant mass unemployment.
Sadly, even with government support, many businesses did go under, whilst a number of people who were self-employed found themselves with a lot less work.
Even now the travel industry, for instance, still isn’t back to pre-pandemic levels. Hospitality also now has a huge recruitment issue, with many who had been employed in the industry switching jobs during the pandemic whilst also collecting furlough payments.
With all of that going on it’s no wonder that some people have been struggling and, as acknowledged by most news outlets, many have fallen into rent arrears.
Here are some tips of what you could do if you find yourself struggling:
Reach out to your landlord
First and foremost, if your circumstances have changed and you expect to have problems paying rent over any period then it’s advisable to reach out straight away to make your landlord or agent aware.
Rather than allowing things to escalate when rent payments don’t appear, taking proactive action shows that you’ve got a plan in place to get things sorted.
It also allows your landlord the chance to make their own plans if their income is going to be reduced over a period of time, as well as being able to help with anything.
Reach out to Citizens Advice
There are other sources available but the Citizens Advice Bureau are able to talk you through budgeting and help you with your finances whilst your income is reduced. They can also help you see if you’re eligible for any benefits such as Universal Credit.
If your income falls below a certain level then you may be eligible to have it topped up with Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, and the CAB can talk you through this process.
See if you’re eligible for government help
The government recently announced a huge package of support for vulnerable renters to help them with things such as rental arrears.
According to the government website, ‘Vulnerable renters struggling due to the impact of the pandemic will be helped by a £65 million support package announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities today (23 October 2021).
The funding will be given to councils in England to support low-income earners in rent arrears – helping to prevent homelessness and support families get back on their feet.’
If you feel that your situation may lead to a longer period of reduced income then it may be sensible to consider downsizing your living accommodation or even moving to a cheaper region to cut down on your monthly rental costs.
Of course, you would need to look into your tenancy agreement for all of the details when it comes to moving, but cutting down on what is many peoples largest monthly outgoing will only help during a period of sustained loss of income.
If you’d like confidential as well as expert advice on what’s available for renters at the moment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts today.