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Trouble paying your bills?

How to stop debts from building up

If for any reason you find yourself having trouble paying any of your bills, such as rent, don't ignore the problem. If you get into rent arrears you could end up losing your home.

Please talk to us straight away so we can help before it gets too late. We can also refer you to an independent Citizens Advice Bureau who will help you to improve your financial situation and give you advice about any benefits you can claim. For instance if you are a pensioner, disabled or a registered carer there may be extra money available to help with things such as heating bills.

Contact our Financial Inclusion team for advice on 020 8489 5611 or email incomecollectionteam@homesforharingey.org.

Remember:

  • Don’t ignore the problem and wait for it to go away – it won’t. Arrears increase quickly. By missing just one payment, it already makes arrears doubly hard to clear. Take action before arrears get out of hand.
  • Don’t ignore any letters we send you. Ignoring your rent arrears could cost you your home.
  • If you think there has been a mistake, just tell us. We are always happy to check your account and sort out any problems, for example if we haven’t received one of your payments.
  • If you are waiting for your housing benefit, tell us. We will not usually take legal action against you if we know you are waiting for a claim to be sorted out - provided you are making agreed payments.
  • If you become unemployed or your income is reduced you should claim Universal Credit. Claim this online at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit  
  • We can help you make the claim and help you with any issues with your claim

Check out our Managing Your Money factsheet series (internal link).

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Where else can I get help and advice?

  1. StepChange Debt Charity - Free Expert Debt Advice. Free confidential and expert debt advice online and over the phone and offer support whilst dealing with debt problems. Free telephone 0800 138 1111 (Mon-Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat 8am - 4pm)
  2. Fighting UK Poverty - Turn2us. A national charity that helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services – online and by phone (free) 0808 802 2000 (Mon-Fri 8am - 6.30pm, Sat 9am - 1pm)
  3. Citizens Advice Haringey - Advice providers - Good Advice Haringey. Provide free confidential information and advice to assist with money, legal, consumer and other problems. Advice line 0300 330 1187 (Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm)
  4. Money Advice Service. Free and impartial money advice, set up by the Government. Try out the online health check by the Money Advice Service who provide free and independent advice and information on how to manage your money better. Free telephone 0800 138 7777 (Mon-Fri 8am - 6pm, Sat 8am - 3pm webchat only)
  5. The government's www.gov.uk website also offers financial advice, including a benefits calculator, which can help you find out if you might be entitled to extra help.
  6. You can call the National Debtline free on 0808 808 4000 for debt problems (Mon-Fri 9am - 8pm, Sat 9.30am - 1pm).

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Beware

It may seem tempting to borrow more money to cover your existing debts, sometimes known as consolidating your debts. It’s usually not a good idea to borrow more money to repay your existing debts as this can make things worse and cost more in the long run.

If you do take out a consolidation loan, be careful you don't end up with more debt than you started with. Make sure you don't borrow from a loan shark. A loan shark is someone who lends money without a licence. This is illegal.
You can report loan sharks on a confidential helpline at: 0300 555 2222.

Take a look at the Citizens Advice Bureau's CAB Debt Consolidation Leaflet.

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What happens if I am in rent arrears?

If you are in rent arrears, you will not be able to transfer to another council property, unless you have kept to an agreement to reduce your arrears for at least 12 months before an offer of alternative accommodation is made. There are also some further restrictions, for example you cannot:

  • be transferred to most housing associations, as they will not take tenants with arrears
  • make a mutual exchange

We will also chase you for payment of the arrears unless you have an arrangement to pay them off.

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Page Last Updated:

15 July 2020