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HomeRent arrears

Rent and rent arrears

If you live in rented property, your rent payments are an important expense. If you fall behind with them, there’s a risk your landlord might end your tenancy and you could be evicted.

Repaying rent arrears

If you fall behind with your rent payments it’s important to contact your landlord and make an agreement with them to catch up.

You’ll need to pay your regular rent plus extra to reduce the arrears. Treat this as a priority debt – your rent payments are more important than payments to debts such as credit union loans, credit cards, unsecured loans or catalogues.

The amount you offer to pay towards the rent arrears needs to be something your landlord agrees to, but it also needs to be something you can realistically afford. 

If you can’t afford to keep up with your regular rent payments, you're unlikely to be able to stay in the house. You could ask your landlord if they’ll agree to reduce the rent.

Help with rent

If you live in private rented housing and you’re on a low income, or your only income is social welfare payments, you might qualify for rent supplement. Contact the Department of Social Welfare to apply.

If you live in local authority housing and you’re struggling with the rent, contact your local authority to make sure you’re being charged the right amount. This is especially important if someone has recently moved out of your home as your rent may go down.

When your landlord ends your tenancy

If you can’t come to an agreement to pay back your rent arrears your landlord can end your tenancy. If you’ve been in your property for more than six months, your landlord must contact you about the arrears before they can start any further action.

In all cases, your landlord must give you a warning notice and allow you at least 14 days to pay back the arrears. If you get this notice, you should get specialist housing advice.

If you don’t pay off the arrears or come to an agreement with the landlord by the date on the notice, they can then give you 28 days’ notice and end your tenancy. If you don’t leave the property, the landlord can get an order from the Private Residential Tenancies Board telling you to leave, and take further action through the courts if you still don’t leave.

Specialist housing advice

If you need specialist advice about arrears or eviction from your rented property, contact the housing charity Threshold. Their website contains lots of useful advice, and you can visit their advice centres in Dublin, Galway or Cork, or contact them by email or phone.

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StepChange Debt Charity 2021