What to do if you can’t pay your rent
If you are finding it difficult to pay your rent, there are supports out there that can help you.
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
If you have found yourself in financial difficulty and cannot afford this month’s rent, you are not alone. There are people you can speak to and supports you can apply for that can help.
What to do if you can’t pay your rent
When your circumstances change and you can’t pay your rent, this can be an extremely stressful situation. However, it is important to do something about it as soon as possible so that you can try to find a solution.
Talk to your landlord
If you can’t pay your rent, speak to your landlord right away. They may be willing to discuss a solution with you, such as coming up with a payment plan. Remember to be honest about how much you can pay every month, and keep track of any agreement you make in writing.
Bear in mind that your landlord wants to do what they can to avoid you moving out, as they most likely need your rent to pay the mortgage on the property you are living in. Finding a good replacement tenant usually takes a while. Make sure to point out such arguments to them.
Apply for social welfare supports
There are several supports available for those who are finding it difficult to pay their rent. If you are unable to cover the cost of your rent with your income, you might be entitled to rent supplement. This is a short-term payment for people in the private rented sector. It is not available to those in full-time education or employment.
If you are working full-time and still can’t pay your rent, you may be eligible for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme. HAP allows you to take up full-time employment and still receive housing support. Your rent will be paid by your local authority directly to your landlord, but you will also have to pay a weekly rent contribution to your local authority. To be able to apply for Housing Assistance Payment, you must be on your local authority’s housing list.
To learn more about the housing supports that may be available to you, contact your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.
Know your rights
If you can’t pay your rent because your landlord increased the cost, it is important to know your rights. There are laws that control how much your rent can be raised by and the specific rules will depend upon where you are living.
If your landlord wants to increase your rent, they must give you at least 90 days written notice. Read more about your rights and rent increases.
There are certain tenancy protections in place for tenants who are receiving one of the following:
- Illness Benefit for COVID-19 absence
- Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) or any other social welfare payment paid as a result of loss of earnings due to COVID-19
These people can apply for protection as a ‘Relevant Person’, which protects them from being evicted on the grounds of arrears (inability to pay rent) until January 2022. You can apply via a self-declaration form, which gets sent to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). Find out more about dealing with rent arrears during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Talk to your friends or family
If you have a trusted friend, partner or family member, consider asking them to lend you money. Explain your situation to them and tell them when you think you will be able to pay them back. They might not be in a situation to support you, but it’s worth asking them for help.
Support services if you can’t pay your rent
There are several organisations in Ireland who offer support to people in financial and housing difficulty. They might be able to give you the advice and support that you need to resolve your situation.
St. Vincent De Paul
The Society of St. Vincent De Paul helps people with financial difficulties. They specialise in offering direct assistance to those in need, caring for the homeless, providing social housing, operating holiday homes and other social support activities. If you need support, you can contact your local St. Vincent de Paul office or submit a confidential request for help online.
Threshold provides a tenancy support service for people at risk of losing their home. They also provide housing advice and advocacy services. You can contact them via their webchat service from Monday to Friday, by emailing your nearest Threshold advice centre, or by phoning 1800 454 454. Find out more about how to access Threshold services.
The Peter McVerry Trust
The Peter McVerry Trust works to support young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Dublin. You can contact them by phoning your local office or completing an online form. Find out more about contacting the Peter McVerry Trust.
Focus Ireland offers support to people experiencing homelessness across Ireland. Their work includes preventing young people from entering homelessness, supporting young people to get back to education or into training, and working with young people to address their needs. If you can’t pay your rent and need advice, contact your nearest Focus Ireland Advice and Information Centre.
MABS offers advice on budgeting and on the law. They also hold legal clinics around the country on a monthly basis, so you can chat with a qualified solicitor. You can contact their helpline on 0761 07 2000 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 8pm.
Need more information, advice or guidance?
We offer information, advice and guidance about the issues that matter to you. Our online Youth Information Chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm (excluding Bank Holidays).