Hi all, below is some information to hopefully assist you if you are in arrears and encourage you to make contact sooner rather than later with your creditors.
If you owe rent arrears and are living in social housing
What to do if you owe your Council or Housing Association Rent If you have missed a rent payment, you are in ‘arrears’
Your Income/Housing officer will normally write to you first instance. If you do not reply, they might phone you normally they will visit your home however this may be unlikely now as a result of the pandemic.
Rent arrears is a priority debt this means that if you do not pay the result will be serious this means that you may could be evicted.
For those of you who live within Croydon and are council tenants, below is the contact details for Croydon Council:
If you have rent arrears of £300 or less you can go online to MyAccount to make an arrangement to clear balance, doing this can avoid further recovery costs or action.
If you are renting privately
Talk to your landlord or lettings agents as soon as possible. If you are waiting for a benefit payment to come through pay whatever you can and ask them for more time to pay the rent back.
Whatever you do not ignore the situation. Your landlord can start the eviction proceedings straight away if you miss a payment or have been late with your payment.
If you have an assured shorthold tenancy the court will normally grant a possession order very quickly so act fast.
Council Tax arrears
If you have missed a Council Tax payment, this means that you are in ‘arrears’ whatever you do, do not wait for them to contact you. Contact the Council Tax Team straight away ask to speak to someone in the Council Tax Team and tell them about your situation.
If you ignore Council Tax arrears, the Council are likely to take you to court quickly to get all the money at once. You will then have to pay court costs and possibly bailiff fees as well as the original debt.
If you miss a Council Tax payment
You will normally get a reminder letter from the council If you pay within 7 days, the council will take no further action.
What happens If you do not pay within 7 days of the reminder
If you do not pay within 7 days of the reminder or if it is the third time you have been late the council will send you a ‘final notice’. This notice will tell you to pay all your Council Tax for the rest of the year within 7 days.
What happens If you do not pay within 7 days of the final notice
Your council will usually apply to the courts for a ‘liability order’ the liability order is a document granted by the court to the council. This gives the council several powers, to collect the debt from you also they might send a bailiff to your home or take money from your pay. On top of this you will have to pay the cost of the court fees and possibly bailiffs fees. This is not a County Court judgment and does not affect your credit rating.
What happens If you still do not pay your Council Tax
In extreme cases you could go to prison although this is exceedingly rare.
If you owe a court fine to the Magistrates court
If you owe a magistrates’ court fine, it is important you pay it. If you do not pay the court can order the following:
- take the money directly from your wages or benefits
- send bailiffs to your home to collect what you owe
- ‘register’ the debt – this means will affect your credit history for 5 years and might stop you from getting credit in the future
You could be put in prison, but normally only if the court thinks you are deliberately not paying.
How to pay the fine
The court will send you a letter that tells you how much to pay, when you must pay and where to send the money – this is called a ‘notice of fine’.
You can also pay court fines online at GOV.UK.
If you get a court summons for not paying your court fine, you must go to the hearing remember you could be arrested and put in prison if you do not pay your court fine.
Remember the hearing is where you can show the court how much you can afford to pay.
If you cannot afford to pay the fine
You should contact the court where you received the fine and ask if you can pay:
- in instalments (or reduce the amount if you are already paying in instalments)
- over a longer period
- at a later date
The contact details will be on the letters you received from the court. If you are not sure, you should contact National Compliance and Enforcement Service.
National Compliance and Enforcement Service
Telephone: 0300 123 9252
8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday