Paying rent and other charges is one of your most important obligations of your tenancy agreement.
Rent and other tenancy related charges are due every Monday in advance. If you pay at any interval other than weekly the rent must always be paid in advance, never in arrears to avoid recovery action taken against you.
You must not withhold the rent or any tenancy charge for any reason whatsoever.
If you are joint tenants, you are together responsible for the rent and tenancy charges. The Council can recover all arrears owed to it as a result of this responsibility from either individual joint tenant. This means that if one joint tenant leaves, the remaining tenant or tenants are responsible for the total of any arrears outstanding, together with ongoing rent and tenancy charges.
The Council may vary the amount of rent you have to pay. In such circumstances, you will be notified in writing of any variation. This notice will also tell you of your rights to end the tenancy if you do not accept the new rent level.
If you are claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to cover your rent costs, you must report any change in your circumstances to Derby City Council as this may affect the Housing Benefits you receive.
If you have any difficulty paying your rent or tenancy charges, you or someone acting on your behalf must contact us immediately.
Problems paying your rent
You need to make sure you don’t get behind with your payments, otherwise you could lose your home. If you’re on a low income or benefits you could get some or all of your rent paid for you. Don’t leave it too late to get help.
You can contact us for:
- advice on claiming Housing Benefit
- advice on claiming Universal Credit
- to make arrangements to pay your rent
- for money advice (tenants only)
If you can’t pay your rent, you must contact us straight away.
Dealing with rent arrears
Whilst there are many ways we can advise you or offer support if you fall behind with your rent, we must be clear about the action we take if you get behind with your payments.
If you do not pay your rent, we will:
- Tell you how much you owe
- Tell you how much you need to pay and what you need to do
- Make sure you have all the help you need
- Make a fair agreement with you to pay the money you owe
If you keep to your agreement with us, we will not take any further action.
Court orders and eviction
If you don't keep to any agreements, we will start to take action to evict you from your home. If we have to take you to court to get you to pay your rent, there will be additional court costs which you will need to pay on top of the rent money you owe.
In a typical year, we can carry out around 40-50 evictions for non-payment of rent. We also get around 100 court orders directly relating to rent payments and arrears.
Some people think they will be given another house if they are evicted. This is not true.
If you are evicted for rent arrears, it could be classed as making yourself intentionally homeless. If this is the case, Derby City Council only have to provide temporary accommodation for 28 days. After this period, you will have to arrange your own accommodation.
Council housing is in high demand and there are many applicants who would appreciate having a home.
Contact us as soon as possible if you cannot pay your rent or if you think you may run into debt problems at some time soon.
Rents can be calculated over 48 or 52 weeks, depending on your tenancy.
Most of the properties we manage have their rent calculated over 48 weeks, rather than 52. Where this is the case, during the remaining four weeks, there are no debits made to your rent account. These are often referred to as 'rent-free' weeks and are split into two, two-week periods: one at the end of March/April and one at the end of December.
Depending on the balance of your rent account, you may still have to pay during these weeks.
If your rent is calculated over 52 weeks, you will not be entitled to rent free weeks.
If your rent account is clear
If you are up-to-date with your rent payments, this means you can treat these weeks as "rent-free" and you can choose not to pay during them.
If you owe rent or are behind on payments
If you are in arrears with your rent you must make payments during these weeks. As there is no rent debit, everything you pay will be taken fully from the amount you owe.
Rent-free week periods for 2021/2022
|Week 1||5 April 2021|
|Week 38||20 December 2021|
|Week 39||27 December 2021|
|Week 52||28 March 2022|
Rent-free weeks - Top Tips
- Make the most of these weeks to clear any outstanding rent that you owe on your account
- If you are up to date with your rent, use the weeks to get your rent account in advance
- If you aren't sure about your balance, log on to My Account or get in touch with us
Remember: If your account is in arrears, you will be expected to pay rent during rent free weeks
Help paying your rent
You may get assistance with paying your rent by claiming Housing Benefit, Universal Credit (or any other benefit which replaces them). We can help you do this.
If you are receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you agree that this benefit can be paid direct to us on the signing of your Tenancy Agreement. The obligation to ensure the rent is paid in full remains yours.
If a change in your circumstances means that your entitlement to a benefit changes, you must inform the council immediately.
You must repay the council any overpayment in of benefit which, by law the local authority (or whoever is responsible for processing the benefit) can claim back. This overpayment may be debited from your rent account and we may collect it as rent arrears.
You can claim and find more information on benefits you may be entitled to on Derby City Council's website.
How benefits are paid to you
Housing Benefit is paid weekly onto your rent account.
Universal Credit is different and payments are made to you each month. If you have moved to Universal Credit from Housing Benefit you must be aware of this difference. It means that, instead of the benefit being paid direct to us, it is paid directly to you as a 'housing costs' part of your Universal Credit payment. You are then responsible for paying it to us for your rent.
Find out more about our rent payment methods, including how to set up a Direct Debit.
Derby Homes can help with your Universal Credit claim
- Confirm details of your tenancy with the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP)
- Apply for an ‘alternative payment arrangement’ if you are in arrears
- Help you register to 'MyAccount' so you can view your rent account online
- Provide money, budgeting and welfare benefit advice
- Speak to you if you need advice or want to discuss your rent account
- Offer a range of payment options to suit your needs
Remember: once you’ve made your claim
- Inform us - contact the Income Team
- Ask us for proof of rent for your Universal Credit interview