Dealing with your priority debts


Rent arrears are very important because you could lose your home if you do not pay them off.

Your right to stay in your home depends on the type of tenancy you have. Each type gives different rights. So it's important for you to find out what type of tenancy you have. If you are not sure, contact Shelter or your local citizens advice bureau. Contact us for​ more advice.

This information does not apply to eviction in England that is based on immigration status. Contact us for advice.

You cannot be evicted from your home without a court order. Even if yo​u are taken to court, this does not always mean you will automatically lose your home. Keep paying your rent and make an offer to pay off the arrears. Even if the court decides you cannot afford to stay there, you will not be evicted from your home on the day of the hearing. There are special rules for some types of tenancy.

Rent arrears fact sheet

For more information about how to deal with rent arrears, see our detailed Rent arrears fact sheet.

This fact sheet will give you practical information and advice if you are behind on your rent. It will explain your options, and the processes your landlord must follow.

Use this fact sheet to:

  • work out what kind of tenancy you have;
  • find out if there is any help you can get with your rent;
  • decide the best option for you;
  • help you negotiate with your landlord; and
  • get advice about dealing with court action.

This fact sheet also includes some useful contacts and links for you to get further help.

Before a social landlord (such as a local council or a housing association) can take court action to evict you from your home, they should follow the pre-action protocol for possession by social landlords. Courts should take these requirements into account before deciding what order to make.

Assured and assured shorthold tenancies 

Extra advice:

no eviction without a court order

You cannot be evicted for rent arrears without a court order. However, if you have a licence (for example, you are a boarder, live in a hostel or are a hotel guest) or are a squatter, you do not have the same rights as a tenant.