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What happens if I do not pay my rent?

As your landlord, the council has a duty to make sure all rent is paid up to date. This is because the rent that is paid by tenants goes toward the upkeep of council housing and providing services for tenants.

As a tenant, you must make paying your rent a priority.
If you don’t pay your rent, you risk losing your home.

We aim to:

  • Assist tenants who get into arrears, by setting realistic repayment arrangements to clear their debt.
  • Prevent tenants from getting further into arrears, by contacting them before their debt becomes high.
  • Take firm action against tenants who, despite our help, fail to pay their rent.

If you get into arrears with your payments, we will:

  • Contact you to let you know that you are in arrears, and ask you to contact us.  
  • We will always try to reach an agreement with you for you to pay off your arrears at an amount that is affordable for you.
  • If you make an agreement to clear your arrears, you must keep to it, or let us know about any problems you are having.
  • If you do not clear your debt, or keep to an agreement to repay what you owe, we will take court action to recover what you owe. 
  • If we take you to court, you may find that the court order affects your credit rating, and you could also lose your home.  You will also have to pay any court costs.
  • If you have applied for Housing Benefit, we will only stop arrears action if you have supplied all the information needed by the Benefits Team to deal with your claim.

Issuing a Notice for non-payment of rent

We will issue a Notice of Seeking Possession / Notice of Possession Proceedings/Notice Seeking Termination of Tenancy/Notice to Quit, if your rent arrears are increasing and you have not made a payment arrangement with us.  This notice is the first stage before we can start any court action against you.

If you receive any of the above notices please contact us immediately.  We would much prefer to make an arrangement with you rather than going to court.  Going to court could leave you liable for court costs or with a possession order on your home.  Read more about Notices here

Court action

If, after the specific number of days (relevant to each Notice) being issued, you have still not made an arrangement or cleared your arrears we will apply to the court.

You can avoid the possible loss of your home by making an arrangement with us to clear your rent arrears. Please contact us.


Eviction is always the last resort.  We do not take this decision lightly and will try all options available for us to reach arrangements and to get you to engage with us.  Once we have applied for an eviction warrant the court will set an eviction date; this will normally be three to four weeks after we have applied.  The local bailiff will hand deliver a warrant to you and this will tell you what will happen.  If you decide you want to remain in the property and are prepared to pay your rent and reach an agreement, you can complete a form via the courts to request a 'stay of eviction'.  You may have to pay a fee to file this form with the court.  If you complete a 'stay', the court will let us know and we will attend a hearing at the court.  At this hearing, Dover District Council and the judge will hear your reasons for not being evicted and what you propose to pay towards your rent.  It's still not too late to save your home but you will need pay off your arrears, plus any legal costs, in full to prevent eviction.

If the eviction goes ahead, on the day of the eviction a Dover District Council employee will attend your property along with the court bailiff at the time given on the warrant.  We will then take possession of the property and you will be expected to leave.  We would also expect you to arrange to take your belongings on the day of the eviction.  You can apply for housing advice from the Housing Options team, but the council will not rehouse you into another property whilst you have rent arrears.

If you find yourself subject to any of these actions we would recommend you take independent advice from organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.

It is a myth that the council does not evict people, even if they have children. If you are evicted, you may be considered as ‘intentionally homeless’ and have difficulty finding somewhere else to live.