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1 Dealing with Debt: your legal rights

1. Introduction

This leaflet explains your legal rights when you have debts, and the protection you have from people who are demanding money from you.

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There is information on:

2. Rent or mortgage payment problems

3. Council Tax bill problems

4. Hire Purchase (HP) problems

5. Gas, electricity and phone bills

6. Water bills

7. Loan and credit problems

8. Dealing with many debts

9. Dealing with bailiffs

10. Other legal protection if you are in debt

11. When you can be in prison with debt

12. Terms used when dealing with debt

13. Further Help

14. About this leaflet

Most of us owe money to people or organisations most of the time: bills are a fact of life. But, occasionally, we may find ourselves swamped by debts, and can`t see a way of paying them all. But it`s never a good idea to ignore bills. Instead you need to get help to deal with them. The `Further help`section gives details of sources of help.

If you are behind with payments to someone you owe money to (legally called a `creditor`), they have legal powers to get their money. Exactly what they can do depends on the type of debt, and some are more serious than others. In the worst case, you could lose your home or even go to prison. So if you have several debts, you need to work out which ones you must deal with first and try to make arrangements to repay them.

Here, we outline common types of debt and what the law says that you, and the creditor, must each do when the creditor wants to get the money you owe.

The leaflets in this series give you an outline of your legal rights, but they are not a complete guide to the law. If you have a problem, you will need to get more information or personal advice to work out the best way to solve it. See `Further help`for sources of advice.

This leaflet was written in association with Birmingham Settlement

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Last updated on 23 July 2017

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