If your rent is not paid, the money owed is called 'rent arrears'.  Rent arrears are 'priority debts', which means the consequences of not dealing with them are serious - there is a risk of eviction. 

What can happen if you don't pay your rent? 

Landlords have the right to seek a court order to evict you from your home.  

Dealing with rent arrears

If you can't pay your rent, you have missed rent payments or you're worried your payments are not being made, sort things out as soon as you can.  Even if you have other debts, make sure you prioritise rent arrears. 

Things to do to help you get back on track. 

  • Make a list of all your debts and put them in order of priority 
  • Write down all your income and expenses - then see how much you've got to pay your debts 
  • Work out how much you can afford to pay each creditor (a person or organisation you owe money to) 
  • Get advice, there are a number of organisations that can help you and give you free, confidential advice. 
  • Most importantly, talk to your landlord and try to reach an agreement about paying your weekly rent plus a sum towards the arrears, but don't agree to pay more than you can afford.  

Remember that once your rent is being paid in full again, the arrears that have built up will still have to be paid off.

Help with paying your rent 

Even if you already receive Housing Benefit but it doesn't cover your rent you may be able to get some extra money - called Discretionary Housing Payment.

Help and advice

You can get free, independent advice about rent difficulties from several organisations. 

West Dunbartonshire Council

Our Advice Service is free, confidential and is provided by a team of skilled advisors.  Their aim is to ensure your income is maximised and you have sufficient information to make informed choices. 

Freephone Helpline 0800 980 9070 or standard rate call on 01389 737050

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

The CAB offers free, confidential advice face-to-face or by phone, and the West Dunbartonshire CAB can be contacted as follows: 

179 High Street, Dumbarton, G82 1NW                01389 744690         

34 Alexander Street, Clydebank, G81 1RZ           0141 435 7590

77 Bank Street, Alexandria, G83 0LW                   01389 752727



Shelter offers face-to-face, phone, email and online advice about any housing problems (not just homelessness). 


0808 800 4444 (calls are free from UK landlines and main mobile networks).

National Debtline

National Debtline is a free, confidential service offering independent advice about dealing with debt.  You can get information online or by calling the free helpline. 


0808 808 4000

Return to main Welfare Reform page