Struggling with your mortgage or rent? Drowning under a mountain of debts? Help is at hand.
Whatever you do, it's vital that you get help soon. If you leave it too late, there may be less we can do to help however its never too late to seek help.
Don't bury your head, it won't go away.
Are you finding it hard to make ends meet?
If so, there are a variety of organisations that provide advice on budgeting and debt, offering help before, during or after you get into difficulties.
Most of these services are free of charge so if you are concerned about your finances you should take advantage of the help and advice that is available.
EREWASH CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU
The Albion Leisure Centre, East Street, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, DE7 5HW
Telephone Number: 0300 456 8390
NATIONAL DEBT LINE
A national telephone helpline for people with debt problems
Tel: 0808 808 4000
STEPCHANGE DEBT CHARITY
If you are struggling with debt make sure that the help and advice you receive is entirely in your best interests - go to a debt advice charity like StepChange Debt Charity. They can help with debt management, debt relief orders and a range of insolvency advice all free of charge. For more information, visit Debt Remedy, an online tool that will point you in the right direction.
Tel: 0800 138 1111
Derbyshire Community Bank
The Derbyshire Community Bank offers assistance to people looking for savings, loans and other banking services.
Telephone Number: 01332 348144
DHA (Direct Help and Advice)
Specialist legal advice, assistance and representation on:
- Securing Suitable Accommodation
- The Prevention of Homelessness
- Defending Possession Proceedings
- Eviction Notices
- Checking Notices Received
- Unlawful Evictions
- Negotiating with Landlords
- Serious Disrepair
- Housing Anti-Social Behaviour Orders
- Provision of Accommodation under Community Care Services
- Injunctions under the Protection from Harassment Act
- Accommodation under the Immigration Act
- Offering home visits to review Energy Efficiency
Training and Legal Advice Centre, 153 Bath Street, Ilkeston, DE7 8AS
Tel: 01159 300199
If you are having problems with the Inland Revenue
Tel: 0845 1203779
Free advice service
Tel: 0845 345 4345
Debt Support Trust
Debt Support Trust is a registered charity providing debt advice and supporting people struggling to manage their debts - www.debtsupporttrust.org.uk
Debt Advice Foundation
Shelter is a housing and homelessness charity who can also offer advice on dealing with debt.
Money Advice Service
Negotiating with creditors
If you are in debt, it is important to keep in contact with the people you owe money to (your creditors).
If they are unaware you are having financial difficulties, they will assume you don’t want to pay and start taking action to have their debts repaid.
It is rarely too late to start negotiating and most creditors will appreciate you contacting them.
There are two types of creditors: priority creditors and non-priority creditors.
Priority creditors are those who have the strongest remedies for ensuring they are paid (enforcing the debt) such as making you homeless, disconnecting your gas or electricity supply, or, in some cases, having you imprisoned.
Although non-priority creditors can take court action to recover their debts, you cannot be imprisoned for non-payment.
The following rules will help you in your negotiations:
- Don’t ignore the problem. It won’t go away.
- Contact your creditors as early as possible and explain why you are in debt.
- If the first person you speak to is unhelpful, ask to speak to someone more senior who may be more willing to agree to your proposals.
- Work out your income and expenses so that you know how much you have to offer to your creditors.
- Make sure you tackle your priority debts first.
- Don’t borrow money to repay your debts. This is likely to increase your debt and may put your home at risk. If you are unsure what to do, contact your local Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB).
- Don’t ignore creditors’ letters or phone calls. Always answer letters and don’t give up trying to make an arrangement even if a creditor seems difficult.
- Keep copies of all letters and make a note of all telephone calls or meetings, including the person's name and what was agreed.
- Always reply to court letters within the time limit and take advice if you’re unsure how to complete court forms.
Priority debts - mortgage
If you are in arrears with your mortgage you should contact your lender immediately. Explain why you are in arrears and how you are going to repay them.
If your circumstances have changed, check whether you are entitled to help.
If you have a mortgage, you may be able to negotiate reduced payments for a period of time or have the arrears added to the amount you borrowed (capitalised), but you will need to consider your options very carefully if your situation is unlikely to improve.
You need to be able to pay the current instalment as well as payment of the arrears and will need to be able to clear the arrears within the remaining period of the mortgage.
Check your mortgage agreement to see if there are penalty charges for falling into arrears and ask your lender if they will waive these charges at least for the first few months.
If you have mortgage protection insurance, be sure to claim. You should contact your local CAB if you require further information.
If you have exhausted all other hardship measures with your lender and are still concerned that you may be repossessed you may be eligible for the Government Mortgage Rescue Scheme. Please contact the Housing Options team on 0115 907 2244 ext. 3590 for more information or to see if you are eligible.
If your total income is below a certain level and you pay rent, you may be entitled to housing benefit to help you pay your current rent and should contact your local council for a claim form.
You should make your landlord an offer to pay off your arrears and should immediately get advice about your tenancy and how secure you are. “Social Landlords” (like councils or housing associations) may accept quite small regular amounts to pay off arrears.
If you are claiming certain benefits you may be able to pay your rent arrears in small weekly amounts, which are deducted from your benefit allowance (direct deductions). The rate is fixed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Remember, your home can be repossessed and you can be evicted if you don’t pay your mortgage or your rent.
As with your rent, if your total income is below a certain level then you may be entitled to Council Tax Support in order help you with your yearly subscription to Council Tax.
If it is that you should fall into arrears with your Council Tax then it is important to contact the Council Tax Recovery Department to explain your circumstances and they will do their best to make a Special Arrangement in order to help you clear your arrears. It is vital that you try and make regular payments or speak with Council Tax as if these debts continue unresolved then this can resort in your arrears being passed to Enforcement Officers which will incur further charges.