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If you can’t pay your bills because of coronavirus

This advice applies to Wales

There are things you can do if you're struggling to pay your bills because of coronavirus. This includes things like your:

  • council tax
  • mortgage
  • energy bills
  • court orders
  • tax bill

It’s important you don’t ignore your bills. Speak to the organisation you owe money to - they might be able to help by letting you pay smaller amounts or take a break.

You can also check what to do if you can't pay your rent because of coronavirus.

It’s also worth telling your bank or building society you’re struggling because of coronavirus. If you don’t normally have an overdraft, they might agree to let you have one. If they give you an overdraft or you already have one, they should agree not to charge interest on the first £500 for 3 months.

Some bills can cause you more problems if you don't pay them. It's worth checking what bills you should pay first.

If you normally have to leave the house to pay your bills

You might have difficulty paying if for example you usually pay in cash or post cheques.

Ask if you can pay your bills in a different way, such as a card payment over the phone or an online transfer. You can also contact your bank for advice about different ways to pay.

Check if something is a scam

Make sure you only use trusted sources of information and help about coronavirus and your debts.

Don’t give money or personal details to anyone you don’t know or trust – for example, if someone knocks on your door and offers to help.

You can check if something is a scam.

If you've got less money because of coronavirus

If you’ve been affected by coronavirus, you might be able to claim benefits or get more money on your current benefits if:

  • you have coronavirus, or you’re following guidance to stay at home
  • you’ve lost your job 
  • or you’re self-employed and can’t get work
  • you can’t work because your workplace has closed 

Check what benefits you can get if you’re affected by coronavirus

You can contact your local council to see if they can give you any extra help from a hardship fund. Check your local council on GOV.UK. 

If you don't already get a council tax reduction

You might qualify for a reduction if your income has dropped or if you started claiming benefits recently.

You should check your local council's rules to see if you qualify for a council tax reduction.

If you don't think you qualify, it's still worth asking your local council if you can get a council tax reduction.

You can find your local council on GOV.UK.

If you can’t pay your mortgage

If you ask your mortgage provider, they might agree to pause your mortgage payments for 3 months. This is called a ‘payment deferral’.

You can ask for a payment deferral for somewhere you live or somewhere you’ve bought to let. If your mortgage provider agrees, it won’t affect your credit rating.

It’s best to ask your mortgage provider for a payment deferral on their website if you can. They should agree to give you a payment deferral if you can’t pay your mortgage because of coronavirus – for example because you can’t go to work.

If you can, keep making your payments until your mortgage provider agrees you can take a payment deferral.

After your payment deferral you’ll still need to make up the payments you missed, plus interest added during the 3 months. This means you’ll have to either:

  • pay more each month
  • keep making payments for longer

Your mortgage provider might contact you during your payment deferral to work out how you can pay after it ends. It’s worth talking to them as they might be able to help you.

If you still can’t pay at the end of 3 months, you can ask your mortgage provider for a second payment deferral for 3 months – they should usually give you one. They might not give you a second deferral if you were already behind with your payments on 20 March 2020, but it’s still worth asking.

You can find out more about payment deferrals on the Financial Conduct Authority’s website.

You can also find out more about dealing with mortgage problems.

If you’re behind with your mortgage payments

At the moment, your mortgage provider shouldn’t try to repossess your home. They should pause any action they’re already taking until at least 31 October 2020.

Courts have also paused all possession cases.

If your mortgage provider’s still trying to repossess your home, get help from your nearest Citizens Advice.

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