Q: I am renting and have an assured shorthold tenancy. I have been falling behind with the rent for a few months. I am working full time but my wages aren’t enough. I am worried about losing my home. What can I do?

A: Take action quickly – your landlord can evict you for non-payment of rent, but they have to serve you with an eviction notice and go to court first.

Contact them and explain why you're struggling. Check that you both agree exactly how much you owe.

Try to get them to agree to a payment plan for the arrears, so you can pay them off gradually. The plan should be written down and signed by the landlord.

To make a realistic plan, and to continue paying your rent so you don't lose your home, create a budget by adding up your essential living costs and take these away from your income.

Use the Citizens Advice budgeting tool and benefits calculator to see if you can increase your income.

Try to find cheaper deals on your energy, phone and broadband.

If the landlord won't agree a plan, or serves you with an eviction notice, get advice urgently. If you do get evicted, ask the council for help. For help with your budget, negotiating a rent payment plan, or eviction advice contact South Lakes Citizens Advice on 03444 111 444.

Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens Advice on any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing, employment or any other problems.

We can give detailed advice over the phone – telephone 03444 111 444. For email see our website: www.southlakescab.org.uk .

We have various outlets across South Lakeland if an appointment is required. For Money Advice and for on-going inquiries please call 015394 46464.