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I can't afford to pay my rent

You're struggling to pay the rent and need help now on how to deal with not being able pay your rent?

Maybe you're thinking a short term loan will help? Whatever - the first thing you need to do is understand what the problem is.

If you are having problems paying your rent you need to take action straight away. The quicker you take control of your financial affairs the quicker you can sort your situation out before it comes a big problem.

Here are some suggestions as to how best to deal with this sort of situation.

Believe it or not there are many options available and you should not despair. If it's urgent there are quick loans you can get. Even if you have bad credit there are loans for bad credit available and if you have no assets there are unsecured loans available to help you through a short term crisis.

Ask yourself, "Why am I behind with the rent"?

The first question to ask yourself is why are you behind with the rent? What has caused this problem? Has something unexpected happened - losing your job? Did you spend too much money on that last holiday or perhaps a special occasion? If so maybe it’s just a short term problem and a short term loan might just be the answer. Are you just running short of money this month? Have your social payments been delayed? If it’s just a short term issue it needs a short term fix, but if there's a problem generally with your spending then you need to stop, take a breath and get a hold of things.

Write down all your income and expenses - then see how much you've got to pay your debts. Make a list of all your debts and put them in order of priority; then you can work out how much you can afford to pay to everyone you owe money to.

Consider seeking advice from a debt advice agency or a debt consolidation specialist as they may be able to restructure your debts into one debt consolidation loan and one easy monthly repayment, they may even be able to write-off some of your debt.

Rent advice

If you are having problems paying your rent, you should get advice as soon as possible. You should contact your landlords to let them know of your difficulties and see if you can make any arrangements. Rent arrears are 'priority debts', which means the consequences of not dealing with them are serious - there is a risk of eviction.

Speak to your landlord as soon as possible and try to reach an agreement about paying off the arrears. Don't agree to pay more than you can afford from your calculations - there’s no point. If you are honest now and you can work through it together. One way to do this is through an agreed debt management plan.

Help with paying your rent

If you're on a low income, you may qualify for some government benefits or social security payments. These benefits can include Housing Benefit, Local Council Tax Benefit or tax credits of some sort.

Remember, you don't have to be out of work to claim benefits and you could qualify for more than one.

Many local offices may be able to get you some extra money - called 'discretionary housing payment'. Speak to your local Housing Officer, check them out in the yellow pages or look on your council tax forms for the number, or better still take a trip to your local office.

Whatever your situation, do not despair, don’t give up and keep looking. You can find a solution.

Good luck.