Debt

 

Are you struggling to pay your rent or your mortgage? Do you have other debts or loans which are difficult to repay? Arun District Council produce a helpful booklet called  Managing your money.pdf [pdf] 922KB

Follow these steps to tackle your debt problems:

  • Don’t put it off – deal with it now!
  • Get professional help as soon as you can (for example at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau), or a free debt advice agency.
  • Prioritise which debts are the most important (keeping your home and those where legal action could be taken against you)
  • Tell the people you owe money to that you are having difficulties – they may be able to help
  • Make realistic repayment arrangements that you can afford, and stick to them!
  • Don’t accept bigger loans to pay off other debts without getting professional advice 
  • Visit the government’s Money Advice website for free, unbiased independent advice.
  • For national advice on Money, tax, benefits, pensions and debt - DIRECTGOV advice
  • Check the DWP advice for help with paying your Mortgage Interest:  Support for Mortgage Interest Factsheet.pdf [pdf] 515KB

If you’re on a low income, or having financial problems, check if you qualify for any benefits - such as housing benefit, council tax reductions or tax creditsYou don’t have to be out of work to claim benefits and you could qualify for more than one. Even if you already receive Housing Benefit, if it doesn’t cover your rent you may be able to get some extra money - called discretionary housing paymentThe Council might need more information to deal with your claim. Do seek advice from the Council or an independent adviser who may be able to assist you with making a claim; incomplete paperwork will hold up your claims. Tell the Housing Department what is going on and keep any correspondence.

Prioritise your debts

The top priority payments include: Lower priority payments include:
  • Rent / mortgage
  • Council Tax
  • Any court orders, money judgements or fines
  • TV licence
  • Gas & electricity
  • Water & sewage
  • Secured loans
  • Hire purchase
  • Unsecured loans
  • Mail order
  • Car finance
  • Phone, mobile, broadband, satellite or cable TV
  • Clothing
Priority debts are ones where serious action can be taken against you if you don’t pay what you owe. Your home is your first priority.   Low priority debts can be reduced by spreading them over longer terms or deferring payment. When money becomes tight, it pays to look at priorities

Everyone will be asking you to repay them, but it is essential that you keep your home and avoid serious legal action for debts which might include a custodial sentence. Lower priority debts can be negotiated or in some cases might be written off. A debt counsellor or money adviser will be able to help you with these negotiations. Contact the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (on 03444 771 171), or Christians Against Poverty for more advice.

Pay your rent first

If you can’t pay your rent, you have missed rent payments or you are worried your payments are not being made, sort things out as soon as you can. Even if you have other debts, paying your rent should always be your top priority!
It is best to talk early. This will help prevent your debts from building up. It is all too easy to bury your head in the sand but the problem won’t go away unless you face it and deal with it.
If you are having problems paying your rent on your council home, contact: Rent Arrears team now on (01903) 737850.

We can help you to prepare a simple weekly budget. We have a simple Personal Budget form which you can download and complete.  Please contact us and we will try to help you agree a reasonable repayment plan for your rent.

Beware of Loan Sharks

Loan sharks are illegal money lenders who often charge very high interest rates - check if a company is licensed and how to report one that isn't.
If you spot a loan shark, or have borrowed money from one, you can report them in confidence.
Report a loan shark - 0300 555 2222 Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm
Text  LOAN SHARK and the lender's details to 60003
Check to see if a lender is licensed
You can check to see what companies have a licence by contacting
Consumer Credit Register  020 7211 8608 Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.00pm

 

Other places where you can get help or advice

West Sussex Credit Union
For advice on savings and low cost loans, contact West Sussex Credit Union, 129 Montague Street, Worthing, BN11 3BP, telephone 01903 237221 or 01903 210172, or visit their website.
The Citizens Advice Bureau 
Offers debt counselling, as well as advice on other benefits that may be available to you. Telephone a local office on 0344 477 1171, or visit them at:
Bognor Regis: Bognor Regis Town Hall, Clarence Road, Bognor Regis, PO21 1LD
Littlehampton: 14-16 Anchor Springs, Littlehampton, BN17 6BP
The local branches have their own website at http://www.arunchichestercab.org.uk/
The Village Information Centre
1B Churchill Court, The Street, Rustington, BN16 3DA
Arundel Council Offices: Arundel, BN18 0BX
The National Debtline web site - Offers expert advice via the telephone and e-mail, enabling clients to deal with their debts in an informed and proactive way.  Freephone telephone number is 0808 808 4000.
The Shelter web site - Offers advice on reducing rent arrears, you can e-mail them, go on-line or telephone them for advice, information and advocacy on any housing problem including homelessness. Freephone telephone number is 0808 800 4444
Step Change Debt Charity  - Offers free debt advice, at www.stepchange.org or Freephone 0800 138 1111
Age UK - Gives free advice on benefits and financial concerns for the over 50s, at www.ageconcern.org.uk or telephone 0800 169 6565
Financial Services Authority - Free Government money advice service, at www.fsa.gov.uk or telephone 0300 500 5000