Financial Problems caused by Covid-19?

My income has dropped due to coronavirus and I’m
struggling to keep up with all of my bills. I rent my house from a private landlord and
pay all the usual bills – electricity, water, and Council Tax. How best can I juggle them,
and is there any help I can get from the government?

If your income is reduced because of coronavirus, you should check whether you’re entitled
to sick pay or benefits. You can check your eligibility for both sick pay and benefits on the
Citizens Advice website. If you’re already on existing benefits, these might also increase.
If you’re struggling to pay rent, talk to your landlord straight away. You should explain the
situation and could ask for more time to pay, a temporary reduction in rent, or ask to catch
up any missed payments by instalments.

If you contact South Lakes Citizens Advice an
adviser can help you explain things to your landlord. If you can’t come to an agreement with
your landlord, it’s a good idea to pay what you can afford and keep a record of what you
offered.

The government passed an emergency law which means landlords have to give you three
months notice to end certain tenancy types from 26 March. The court service has suspended
all possession action for 90 days from 27 March. This means that even if you have been
served a notice for eviction it’s unlikely it can be enforced during this time.

You can find out
more about what to do if you’re being evicted for rent arrears on the Citizens Advice website.
If you already claim Housing Benefit, you should tell the council your income has reduced. If
you don’t claim it already, you might be entitled to help with housing costs from the
government.

When it comes to your utilities, you should contact the provider as soon as possible.
Depending on the type of bill, they may be able to arrange a payment plan, or they may have
schemes in place for people in financial hardship. You should also talk to your local council –
as your income has changed you might be entitled to a council tax reduction.
If you’re struggling to pay multiple bills, it’s important to prioritise energy bills and council tax
over credit card bills. This is because the immediate consequences of not paying these
things are much more serious.

South Lakes Citizens Advice can help you with this.
Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens Advice on
any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing, employment or any other
problems.

South Lakes Citizens Advice is still delivering a service – Telephone and Digital
Advice

How to access:

Call 015394 46464 – this is being staffed from 9:30 – 2pm

Adviceline: 03444 111 444

email advice via our submission page on our website
www.southlakescab.org.uk

Help to Claim (Universal Support): 0800 144 8 444