Senior couple at home reacting to many bills (Posed by models) Image: Adobe Stock

Bedford Borough Council urges residents not to ignore notices from their landlords or the Court about rent arrears.

Last year, the Government introduced legislation that meant landlords could not evict tenants from their homes due to rent arrears and would instead have to work with them to put in place a flexible payment plan based on their individual circumstances.

However, on 1 June 2021, the legislation was withdrawn. This means that landlords can once again evict tenants who have fallen into rent arrears or breached their tenancy agreement.

Councillor Colleen Atkins, portfolio holder for regulatory services and housing, said:

“During the pandemic the Government has quite rightly protected people from being evicted and made homeless. For many people the pandemic has changed their financial circumstances so that they have been unable to keep up with rent payments.

“Often, tenants just need patience from landlords so that they can get back on track with their payments.

“It is vital that anyone who receives a notice about rent arrears or eviction from their landlord or the Court doesn’t just ignore it, because the situation will worsen and you could end up homeless.

“If you’ve received a notice, please contact the Council or Citizens Advice Bedford straight away for free help and advice.”

Daniel Deacon, service delivery manager of money advice at Citizens Advice Bedford, said:

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s finances, which has resulted in lots of people falling behind on essential bills and getting into debt, some for the first time.

“If you’re struggling with debts you should contact us at Citizens Advice Bedford to be supported by our dedicated Money Advice team who are fully accredited by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide debt advice.

“You could be eligible for Breathing Space, a new scheme that can keep your creditors at arm’s length for up to 60 days, including rent or mortgage arrears, and this means that payment demands and legal action are frozen while you get free specialist debt advice.

“Our service is completely free, confidential and independent. If you need our help to deal with your debt issues, please contact us by using our online form on our website or by telephone. You will then be contacted by the Money Advice team within 24 hours to arrange an appointment.”

You can contact Bedford Borough Council’s Housing team for advice by calling 01234 718058, between 8.45am – 5.15pm from Monday to Thursday, or 8.45am – 5pm on Friday. In an emergency, you can also contact 01234 267422 outside of these hours.

To speak with an advisor at Citizens Advice Bedford, visit Bedford CAB or call 01234 867944 between 9.45am – 1pm from Monday to Thursday, or 9.30am – 1pm on Friday.