Creditors still chasing you after you go bankrupt

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

When you're declared bankrupt, most of your creditors have to stop chasing you for payment and shouldn't contact you to ask you to pay. However, there are some exceptions.

What creditors must do if you're made bankrupt

When you're declared bankrupt, most types of creditor must stop taking any action against you to get you to pay what you owe. This means:

  • they mustn't do anything to try to get money from you, such as sending you letters or authorising debt collectors to visit you, although they can still send you letters to tell you the balance of your account

  • they mustn't start any new court action against you, unless they get express permission from the court to do so

If your creditors are still contacting you

If the creditor is asking you to pay them, check if the debt is covered by bankruptcy.

If the debt is covered by bankruptcy:

  • don’t pay the creditor anything

  • tell the creditor you’re bankrupt

  • contact the official receiver or trustee and tell them about the creditor

You can check what to do if you forgot to tell the official receiver about one of your debts.

If the debt isn’t covered by bankruptcy, you'll need to carry on dealing with them yourself.

When creditors can still chase you

Creditors are allowed to carry on chasing you for payment of certains kinds of debts, including:

  • secured debts, such as a mortgage or charging order on property

  • magistrates court fines

  • maintenance arrears

  • child support arrears

  • social fund loans

  • student loans

  • any payments a court has ordered you to make under a confiscation order, for example for drug trafficking

  • rent arrears - your landlord can't force you to pay these, but if you don't they may be able to evict you

If creditors are contacting you about any of these debts and you want to come to a payment arrangement, you'll need to respond to them and try to make an agreement for paying what you owe.

If you have tax or council tax arrears

Your local council and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) might use bailiffs to recover the debt. The bailiffs can take and sell your things. You won’t be able to set up a payment arrangement plan with them. Check if you can stop bailiffs taking your things.

Your local council and HMRC can’t make you pay in any other way - for example, they can’t take money from your wages.

If you owe money to people or companies in the EU

Any debts you owe people or companies in the EU might not be covered by bankruptcy. 

Your creditors could keep asking you for money, for example by calling you and sending you letters. 

If you live in the EU, they could take you to court in the EU. 

EU creditors still have to sue here in the UK rather than abroad in the EU, even if they have an existing judgement. The UK will recognise EU judgements entered or started before 31 December 2020.

If you live in the UK but have a home in the EU with a mortgage from an EU lender, the lender could take you to court in the EU. 

Get legal advice if you have creditors in the EU. Find free or affordable legal help.

Creditors contacting you because bankruptcy trustee not responding

Sometimes you may find that your creditors are continuing to contact you because the official receiver or bankruptcy trustee isn't responding to them. Dealing with creditors is part of their job, so if they're not doing it, you can make a complaint about them.

If the trustee is the official receiver, you should use the Insolvency Service's complaints procedure.

If the trustee is an insolvency practitioner, you should complain to their professional body through the Insolvency Service Complaints Gateway.

Next steps

You can find out how to complain about the official receiver or an insolvency practitioner on GOV.UK.

If you need help writing your complaint, talk to an adviser.

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Page last reviewed on 17 March 2021