Managing debt

If you do not feel on top of your finances, you should seek advice. This page has details of various money advice support groups.

  • Southend Citizens Advice - provide independent debt and money advice including information on pensions, savings and borrowing money
  • StepChange offer practical support to help you create a personal budget, or other practical solutions for managing debt. Their website contains advice on many areas of debt from what to expect when you cant afford to pay your debts to dealing with bailiffs
  • National Debtline- aim to help people regain control of their finances with personalised solutions
  • GOV.UK- advice from the government, lenders and advice agencies. The information here will give you the tools you need to prevent your home being repossessed
  • Shelter Shelters website offers advice on dealing with debts, including advice on Universal Credit advance payments, energy bills and prioritising debts
  • Christians Against Poverty - Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has been providing free regulated debt advice to anyone who has unmanageable debt for the last 25 years
  • King's Money Advice Centre (KMAC) is a free, confidential, face-to- face debt advice service, authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for debt advice and debt management. The service is based at St Stephen's Church, 90 Alton Gardens, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS2 6QZ. Please phone and leave a message or email to arrange an appointment. Phone: 01702 522197, email:

Rent and mortgage arrears

Rent or mortgage arrears are a serious issue and can result in you losing your home. If you lose your home through not paying your rent or mortgage, the Council may be limited in the support we can provide to find you new accommodation.

If you have rent or mortgage arrears, you should take immediate action. If you are threatened with homelessness due to rent or mortgage arrears, you can contact our Housing Solutions team for advice and support.

Dealing with rent arrears

If you are in rent arrears, it can be hard to deal with. However, you should act as soon as possible as ignoring the arrears or letters will only make the problem worse.

  • check the amount you owe
  • does the amount being requested match your records, is the figure correct
  • check how much you have paid by reviewing your rent statements, rent books, receipts, bank statements

Speak to your landlord

Speak to your landlord or letting agent to explain the situation. See if you can agree a repayment plan to pay off your arrears. Pick a realistic figure that you can actually afford, do not agree to a payment plan that is not achievable.

Citizens Advice Southend can help you with budget and debt advice.

Check your benefits

Are you in receipt of the correct levels of benefit? Have you never thought you could claim before?

If you are unsure what benefits you can claim, you can complete this online benefit calculator to find out what and how you can claim.

Just about managing

If you feel that you are just about managing, or you are struggling to make ends meet, please visit our benefits and maximising your income page for further support and guidance.

Housing cost, rented accommodation

If you are living in rented accommodation and on a low income you may be entitled to help with your housing costs. Depending on your circumstances, you may have to make this claim from the Department of Works and Pension or the council.

If you are already in receipt of Housing cost make sure that any rent increases have been told to either the council Housing Benefit department or The Department of Work and Pension.

Repayment plan for debt and managing bills

There are charities that can help you work out a repayment plan in order to clear arrears. Contact the Citizens Advice Service for more information. You can also talk with Citizens Advice Southend about ways to reduce your bills.

Check to see if you can claim Council Tax Support using the Benefit calculator or claim a discount on your Council Tax Account by visitng our discounts page.

Rent arrears - Discretionary Housing Payments

If you have a rent a top up that you are unable to pay or considering moving to a more affordable rented accommodation, you may be entitled to help from the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme if you are currently in receipt of Housing Benefit or receive the Housing Element in your Universal Credit Payment.

Being evicted

Speak with the Local Council Housing Soulutions team or Citizens Advice Southend to get the correct information and guidance.

Direct contact can be made with Citizens Advice for advice in emergency situations, such as visits from bailiffs or evictions. Email or phone 01702 969696.

Landlords, please 'Call before you Serve'

We are urging landlords and tenants to call the housing solutions team before issuing an eviction notice. The 'Call before you Serve' scheme is designed to try and avoid evictions and prevent homelessness. The scheme is for anyone considering issuing an S21 or S8 notice on a tenant. Please see the As eviction bans lifts landlords urged to 'call before you serve' article for more information

Contact us - Housing solutions

Telephone: 01702 215002

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