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Money issues

Housing related debts are rent arrears, either from a current or former tenancy, recharges for damage to property or for the clearance of your items from a former home and County Court possession costs awarded against you by the court.

It is important to note that if you are struggling to pay any debts, this may stop you being offered a home by one of the council's landlord partners as they are keen to check that people will be able to manage their rent.   Please see our page 'Am I ready to be a tenant?'.  If you are not in control of your money and debts, it is important to seek advice to help you cope.  NB If you have debts, it is important to seek an accredited debt advisor.  At its website, the Money Advice Service has a Debt Advice Locator - Free debt advice service and help locator tool - Money Advice Service.  It is important to check that any debt advisor is accredited.  The debt advice service will help you ensure that your income has been maximised, that you can manage your expenditure and can negotiate with your creditors where you are struggling with your repayments.

Sources of help with debt management

Citizens Advice

Money Advice Service

Debt Advice Foundation

National Debtline

StepChange

The Insolvency Service (this is only for IVAs and bankruptcy)

In some cases, where repayment of debts is impossible, a debt advisor will suggest taking legal steps to manage your debt.  Some debt management plans will affect whether or not you qualify to register with Homes4Wiltshire.  Please read the information below carefully.

Other sources of help

We advise our clients that alternative means of clearing debts without increasing borrowing can also be explored, such as grants from benevolent funds or charities. 

The following websites offer further information;

If you are serving or have served in the Armed Forces 

If you have a disability or mental illness

If you work or have worked as a carer, nurse or support Worker

If you work or have worked in the Transport industry

If you work or have worked in Retail

If you work or have worked in Farming

If you work or have worked in Horticulture

If you have a professional background

There are many other charities and benevolent funds that can offer grants.  Turn2Us.org provides welfare and benefit advice and also lists further charities and benevolent funds that may be able to assist.

NB We recommend taking money management and debt advice before contacting a charity or benevolent fund, to ensure that you have minimised inessential expenditure and maximised your welfare benefits income.

If a debt advisor feels that you need to take legal steps to manage your debt, it may be one of the following actions.

Debt Relief Orders

A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is a way to have debts written off if you have a low level of debt and few assets.  A DRO freezes debt payments and interest for 12 months.  If your financial situation hasn’t changed at the end of this period all of the debts will be written off.

If you are thinking of applying for a DRO, see which category you fit into.

I have only non-housing related debts.  If I apply for a Debt Relief Order may I join the Housing Register?

Yes.  You are able to be registered with Homes4Wiltshire if you qualify on connection criteria too.  Partner landlords will apply their own lettings policies and will complete an affordability assessment before making an offer of accommodation to you. 

I have a housing related debt (arrears, damage recharges, legal costs) and I want to include it in a Debt Relief Order.  If I include it in a Debt Relief Order may I join the Housing Register?

No.  We would advise that you think very carefully before including a housing related debt in a DRO.  You will only be able to apply for re-housing after the “payment moratorium” period included in the order – normally 12 months.  Once the order finishes, your housing debt(s) cease to exist and you can apply for housing.

Our partner landlords own 80% of the homes we advertise through Homes4Wiltshire.  Most landlords that advertise their homes through Homes4Wiltshire would not consider that a DRO including a past or current housing related debt demonstrates a tenant is taking responsibility for the housing debt and are therefore unlikely to make an offer of accommodation.  

I have a housing related debt with my current landlord and I have been granted a Debt Relief Order including this debt.  Will I able to join the Housing Register?

No, not until the period stated in the Debt Relief Order ends.  However, if you make regular repayments against the debt, and your debt advisor confirms that this is OK, then we would admit you to the Homes4Wiltshire scheme once you had made repayments for 6 months, or cleared half the debt, whichever is sooner. 

Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA)

Individual Voluntary Arrangements are an option that is available for those in moderately severe financial difficulty.  An IVA is a legally-binding agreement between you and your creditors to pay back your debts over a period of time and can only be set up by an insolvency practitioner.  Housing debts like rent arrears can only be included in an IVA if the creditor agrees.  A former landlord would have to be asked by your debt advisor if it was willing to have the debt included.  NB Please take advice from an accredited debt advisor or an insolvency practitioner, before contacting any former landlord to whom you believe you owe money.

I am thinking of getting an IVA.  Will I be able to join the Housing Register?

As long as you don't include a housing related debt in the IVA, you will be able to join the Housing Register immediately.

I already have an IVA.  Will I be able to join the Housing Register?

Yes, once you have made repayments under the IVA for 6 months, or cleared half the debt, whichever is sooner.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is an option that is available for those in severe financial difficulty.  One cannot become bankrupt without If the Insolvency Service agrees to declare you bankrupt, your creditors (loan / credit cards companies) will write off your unsecured debts.

I have a housing related debt from a previous home and another creditor has been granted a bankruptcy order against me in which the Insolvency Practitioner advised me to include the housing related debt.  Will I be allowed to join the Housing Register?

Yes, assuming that you meet the council's other qualifying criteria eg connection to the Wiltshire Council area

I only have non-housing related debts and want to apply for bankruptcy.  Will I be allowed to join the Housing Register?

Yes, assuming that you meet the council's other qualifying criteria eg connection to the Wiltshire Council area