Debt Arrangement Scheme and rent arrears

If you have rent arrears, you may be able to apply for a debt payment programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS). This will give you time to pay off your debts at a rate you can afford.

Debt Arrangement Schemes

The Debt Arrangement Scheme helps people repay their debts over a period of time and at a rate that they can afford. You can apply for a debt payment programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme if you have one or more debts and you are having difficulty keeping up with your payments.

What is a debt payment programme?

A debt payment programme is an agreement made via the Debt Arrangement Scheme where instead of making lots of payments to different creditors every week or every month, you can make a single regular payment to a payment distributor instead.

  • Creditor - someone you owe money to.
  • Payment distributor - a company that is used to collect payments from you and distribute them to your creditors.

Your payment will be split in relation to the size of your debts. For example, if you have rent arrears of £2,000 and a store card debt of £750, your landlord will receive a larger payment than the store card lender.

If your application for a debt payment programme is successful and you keep up with your payments, your lenders will not be allowed to take any further action to enforce the debt, such as getting a court order instructing your employer to pay part of your wages directly to them.

Applying to the Debt Arrangement Scheme

You can't apply directly to the Debt Arrangement Scheme. Instead, you need to ask a money adviser to make an application on your behalf. You can find contact details for a money adviser in your area at the moneyscotland website.

Your application for a debt payment programme will be considered by a Debt Arrangement Scheme administrator. They will ask your creditors if they consent to you taking part in the programme. However, all the creditors may not need to give their consent in order for you to proceed with the programme.

Debt payment programme and rent arrears

You can apply for a debt payment programme if you have rent arrears. However, a debt payment programme will only be suitable if you can continue to meet your regular rent payments as they fall due, as only your arrears will be covered in the programme.

Even if you keep up with your payments to the debt payment programme, your landlord will still be able to ask the court for an order for your eviction. However, the court will look at the debt payment programme when deciding if it would be reasonable to evict you. The court could grant an eviction order but it would not be able to grant an order about payment of the rent arrears as they are already being paid through the debt arrangement scheme.

Change in circumstances

If you are having difficulty making payments to your debt payment programme because your circumstances have changed, you may be able to get your payments reduced. This may be the case, for example, if you have a baby or you are unable to work because you are ill.

I haven't been making payments to my debt payment programme

If you don't keep up with your payments to your debt payment programme, your landlord can begin legal proceedings to have you evicted from your home.

If you are worried about eviction, you should contact an adviser at a Shelter or Citizens Advice. They will be able to:

  • tell you what your rights are
  • help you negotiate with your landlord
  • tell you whether you should seek legal advice and possibly refer you to a solicitor.

You can find contact details for an adviser in the Advice Services Directory.

The important points

  • A Debt Arrangement Scheme helps people repay debts in a manageable way.
  • Debt Arrangement Schemes help you make an agreement called a debt payment programme where you make one regular payment each week or month.
  • Your regular payment goes to a payment distributor, who distributes your payment to the people you owe money.
  • You can apply to a Debt Arrangement Scheme if you have rent arrears but this is only suitable if you can now meet your onging rent payments.

Speak to a Shelter Scotland adviser

Call Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline

0808 800 4444
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

Email an adviser

You can also email a housing adviser. We aim to respond within three working days.

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