Greenwich

Help with paying housing charges

Council housing charges arrears

The consequences of getting into arrears on your council housing charges are serious. This section explains what happens if you get into arrears, what could happen if you do not take action to clear your arrears and how you can get help.

Let us know

If you are having problems paying your council housing charges, you must speak to your income officer. Please telephone 020 8854 8888 and ask for your income officer or email income-business-support@royalgreenwich.gov.uk.

If you get into arrears and have not contacted your income officer, they will write to you asking you to arrange to pay. Do not ignore this letter – you must respond to an arrears letter. Do not wait until you have a large debt you cannot pay.

We will do all we can to help you if you are having difficulty paying your council housing charges. However, if you ignore attempts to contact you or break an agreement to pay your housing charges and arrears, action will be taken to evict you. This is because not paying your housing charges breaks your tenancy agreement.

The Royal Borough will use all legal means to recover rent and housing charges arrears. You will be told in writing about any legal action and the likely consequences. Royal Borough of Greenwich does not want to evict tenants but will if arrears are not cleared.

Eviction

If you don't pay, you can't stay. Rent and housing charges arrears can lead to eviction. Failure to deal with your arrears after you have been sent an arrears letter may result in you receiving a possession order.

Possession orders

You may be sent a Notice of Seeking of Possession. If this happens and an arrangement to pay the arrears is not made within four weeks, we will apply to the court for a possession order. There will then be a court hearing, which you should attend. You will also have to pay costs. These will be added to your rent account.

Once the Royal Borough has a possession order it is important for you to keep in touch and keep to arrangements that you make, or you will be at serious risk of losing your home.

Good reasons not to get into arrears

  • if you are evicted from your home for rent arrears, the Royal Borough will not normally rehouse you
  • you may have trouble getting credit such as loans and hire purchase. A possession order always carries a money judgement for the amount of arrears plus court costs - this lasts for seven years
  • you may not be able to get a mortgage as building societies and other lenders may, with your permission, ask us for housing payment references
  • you will not normally be able to get a transfer or a mutual exchange
  • you will not be allowed to rent a garage. If you already rent one, it will be taken away from you.