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1 Dealing with Debt

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1. Introduction

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

Debts to water companies are treated differently from those to gas, electricity and telephone companies. It is illegal for a water company to disconnect you for missing payments. To force you to pay, a water company must get a 'money-only' judgement through a county court claim (see 'The 'money-only' claims procedure').

If the company is awarded a judgement, and you do not pay as ordered, it may apply for:

  • a warrant to authorise county court bailiffs to take goods you own;
  • an Attachment of Earnings order (to take money from your wages); or
  • if you are a homeowner, a charging order over your home, which, in extreme circumstances, could mean you are forced to sell your home to give the company its money.

You should try to make sure you have enough money to pay your water bills in future and get the company to agree to an arrangement you suggest for paying any arrears. If you have received a county court claim, and you accept that you owe the amount of the debt, you should complete the 'admission form' making an offer of payment at a rate you can afford.

7. Loan and credit problems

8. What creditors can do to get their money

9. Going to court

10. Dealing with many debts

11. Dealing with bailiffs

12. Other legal protection if you are in debt

13. When you can be sent to prison for your debts

14. Terms used when dealing with debt

15. Further help

16. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Birmingham Settlement.

The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.

Leaflet Version: October 2019

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