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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


  • 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.

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

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Where else can I get help and advice?

  1. Money Advice Service
    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.
  2. The government's 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.
    Directgov online benefits adviser
  3. The Financial Conduct Authority regulates financial services in the UK and offers advice on how to protect your money.
  4. Toynbee Hall offers an independent advice service providing accurate, up-to-date advice and information on rights and legal issues.
    Phone: 020 7247 6943
    Write to: Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London. E1 6LS
  5. You can call the National Debtline free on 0808 808 4000 for debt problems (open Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 8pm and Saturdays, 9.30am to 1pm)

Fair Finance is a social business based in London. They offer a range of financial products and services designed to meet the needs of people who are financially excluded. Offices are at:

  • 18 Ashwin Street, Dalston,E8 3DL
  • Limehouse, 530 Commercial Road, London, E1 0HY 
  • Thamesmead, 19a Joyce Dawson Way, Thamesmead Town Centre, SE28 8RA 
  • East Ham, 316 Barking Road, London, E6 3BA 
  • Elephant and Castle, Unit 207-208, Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, London, SE1 6TE

Open 9am to 5.30pm every weekday

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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 certain 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:

18 July 2018