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Understanding Debt

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Types of Debt

Debt, it's more common than you think. In London, over 1.4 million adults struggle to make ends meet - each year we help over 24,000 people with their money worries. Our advice is always free and impartial.

Rent Arrears

Rent Arrears

Rent arrears is the most frequent debt we help our customers with, making up 43% of those who visit us.

Council Tax

Over a third of those we’ve helped (36%) had fallen behind with Council Tax payments.


No-one should have to go without heating or electricity at any time. Get help to repay your utility debt now before these vital services are cut off.



It's easy to fall behind on your credit card payments. Nearly a third of those we helped owed on their cards.



Many people struggle to repay their loans. We can help you with bank loans, payday loans as well as alternatives to payday loans and loan sharks.

Managing Debt

Prioritising Debts

There are some bills and debts that should be dealt with as a priority, this is because the consequences of not paying them can leave you at risk of losing your home or other assets.

Breathing Space

With Breathing Space, those in problem debt have the right to protection from creditors – the people they owe money to – for a period of 60 days. 

Debt Solutions

We can support you with a wide range of practical debt solutions to suit every situation and you can read more about some of these options below.

Admin Orders

If you’re struggling with debt, you may be able to apply to the County Court for an Administration Order – a formal, legally-binding arrangement that allows you to repay what you owe over a manageable period of time.


Declaring bankruptcy is one way to clear your debts and start afresh. If you’re a homeowner, your house may be sold off to release equity. So may your car and any other luxury items you own.

Debt Management Plans

A Debt Management Plan (DMP) allows you to pay off your debts at a rate you can afford - it’s suitable if you have non-priority debts like credit or store cards, overdrafts and personal loans.

Debt Relief Order (DRO)

A Debt Relief Order freezes your debts for a year, then writes them off completely if there’s no change to your financial situation.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) freezes your debts and allows you to pay them back over a set period of time. Any money you still owe after this is then written off altogether. 

How to access our advice

We are here and ready to help you through a range of channels tailored to your needs. You can access our free and impartial advice in the following ways:

In Person

At An Advice Centre

We have advice hubs based in local Citizens Advice, Law Centres and other community settings. Find your nearest Debt Free Advice Centre here.


Call Us

Give us a call on freephone 0800 808 5700, or use our form to request a callback. Our lines are open seven days a week 8am-8pm.


Video Chat With Us

Need to speak to an Advisor face-to-face but can't make it to one of our centres? Use our Video Advice service.


Can't talk? No problem! Use WhatsApp to drop us a message us on 0800 808 5700.

How we've helped others

Gwen & Vincent's Story

Gwen and Vincent contacted us after receiving a letter of court action. As parents to four children they were claiming Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit but they had been overpaid by £8,450.00 due to incorrect information on their initial claim form.

Shamiya’s Story

Shamiya found herself in receipt of a County Court action brought about by her utility company for arrears of over £2,000. The debt had escalated as Shamiya’s utility meter hadn’t been read for some time resulting in an unexpected bill that she couldn’t afford to pay.

Jasmine's Story

Jasmine came for debt advice in relation to an outstanding Major Work repairs debt carried out on her property. Jasmine, widowed and suffering from long term ill health, was harassed by her landlord who was demanding she pay the outstanding figure of over £3,000 in full and referred Jasmine’s debt to their solicitor to issue her with a forfeiture of her leasehold.