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This guide is not relevant in England and Wales
For a version of this guide that covers England and Wales, please click here.

If you are facing any of the following situations in the next five working days , it is important that you get advice as soon as you can.

  • You have a sheriff officer visiting to collect any of your debts.
  • You are being threatened with eviction or facing homelessness.
  • You are being threatened with disconnection or loss of a service, for example utilities, internet or phone.
  • You have a court hearing.
  • You have an important deadline to meet.

Use the links to the guides in each section to find more detailed information.

You have a sheriff officer visiting to collect any of your debts

A sheriff officer may be used to collect various types of debts. For example, this may be if you have a decree in the Sheriff Court, a council tax charge for payment which you have not paid, or some types of business debts.

You can find more information in the following guides.

Being threatened with eviction or facing homelessness

Whether you live in a rented or mortgaged property, if you do not want to leave your home, you cannot be evicted without a court order. If your landlord or mortgage lender does take court action, it may be possible for the court to allow you to remain in your home, as long as you can make affordable payments towards your arrears to clear them in a reasonable time.

You can find more information in the following guides.

If you are facing homelessness

Being at risk of losing your home can be overwhelming, but it is important to know about the help that is available to you. If you qualify for help under the homelessness rules, the council may be able to help you to stay in your current home or help you to find another one if you have to leave. In some circumstances, the council will have to offer you accommodation.

You can find more information in our Advice if you are worried about losing your home guide.

Being threatened with disconnection or loss of a service, for example, utilities, internet or phone

If you have been told that your gas or electricity supply is being cut off

You should be able to prevent disconnection if you contact your supplier and arrange to repay your debt at an affordable rate, either by instalments, Fuel Direct or through a prepayment meter. You must be asked if you want a prepayment meter before your supply is disconnected, if it is safe to install one.

You can find more information in our Gas and electricity arrears guide.

Telephone or internet

If you are unable to pay your mobile or internet bill you should contact your provider. Ask them if you can pay in affordable instalments. Your phone or internet provider may be more likely to agree to a monthly payment plan if you contact them quickly.

You can find more information in our Mobile phone debt guide.

Court action or a court hearing in the sheriff court

The sheriff court may be used by a creditor to take court action against you if you do not pay your debt. If you owe the money, the court can grant a decree.

Another situation where you may face court action is if a sheriff or justice of the peace court orders you to pay a fine. This could be for a road-traffic offence, for not having a television licence or for another offence such as theft, minor assault or breach of the peace.

It is important to make sure you read any letters or forms you receive from the court. This is because it is important to comply with any deadlines given to you by the court.

You can find more information in the following guides.

You have a deadline to meet

You may have different deadlines to meet depending on your situation and the types of debt that you owe. Make sure that you are aware of any dates that you need to do something by, and plan ahead.

It is important to meet deadlines when you can, as you may prevent your situation getting more difficult. For example, if you miss a deadline to make a payment it may mean additional fees being added to a debt, or if you have a debt being enforced your creditor may be able to take enforcement to the next stage.

Most types of debts have their own specific types of deadlines. You can use our guide library to read about the type of debt you have and the process used to collect it so that you are aware of any deadlines you may need to meet.

The following guides cover some examples of situations where you may have a deadline to meet.

Next steps

It is important that you get advice as soon as possible .

Call us for free debt advice on 0808 808 4000 .

Alternatively, Webchat with an adviser if you just want to ask a question.

Monday to Friday 9am – 8:00pm and Saturday 9:30am – 1pm .

To make a payment offer to your creditor, you will need to work out how much you can realistically afford. You can use our Digital Advice Tool.

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