Information about Managing Debt
If you do not feel on top of your finances, you should seek advice. Listed below are 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 can't 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
- Debt Support Trust - a not-for-profit debt charity. Debt advisors can offer you telephone or internet based debt advice
- Shelter –Shelter’s website offers advice on dealing with debts, including advice on Universal Credit advance payments, energy bills and prioritising debts
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. 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.
The Citizens advice can help you with budget and debt advice: Citizen’s Advice Southend
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 calculator to find out what and how you can claim: Online Benefit Calculator
Just about Managing
Do you feel that you are just about managing, are you struggling to make ends meet please visit our Just about managing 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.
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.
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.
Direct contact can be made with Citizens Advice for advice in emergency situations, such as visits from bailiffs or evictions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01702 969696.
Landlords, please ‘Call Before You Serve’
The council is 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 this article for more information: As eviction bans lifts, landlords urged to ‘call before you serve’