Step 4 Dealing with your non-priority debts

Checklist

Extra advice:

less straightforward
non-priority debts

There are some non-priority debts that are not straightforward to deal with. You should contact us for advice if you have debts such as:

  • arrears of business or household rent, phone, gas or electricity from a previous property or supplier;
  • hire-purchase or conditional-sale debts where the goods have gone back to the company;
  • equipment leases where the goods have gone back to the company;
  • debts with cheque-cashing services;
  • gambling and spread-betting debts; or
  • professional fees (solicitors’ and vets’ bills and so on).

Use this simple checklist to make sure you take the right steps to deal with your non-priority debts.

Do you need a safe bank account?

Make sure that any money you receive (for example, earnings from your business, wages or benefits) goes into an account at a bank or building society that you don’t owe any money to. This means the bank or building society will not be able to take any of your income to pay your debt to them. This also applies to a business bank account.

Opening a bank account

Work out a business and household budget sheet

Your budget is very important as it will help you decide what options you have for dealing with your debts. It will also help you to negotiate with your creditors, fill in any court forms, or ask for your debts to be written off.

Working out your business budget

Working out your household budget

Deal with court forms on time

If any of your creditors have taken action against you in the sheriff court, you need to make sure you have replied to the court forms. This means filling in the forms the court sends you and returning them to the right place by the deadline. This will help you avoid any enforcement action (diligence), such as taking money from your wages (if you are employed) or taking money from your bank account.

What if my creditors take court action?

Explain your situation to your creditors

Even if you haven’t decided how to deal with your non-priority debts, it’s a good idea to explain to your creditors in writing that you are struggling. Tell them you are taking advice and doing a budget. This may buy you some breathing space.

Hold action on your account sample letter

Decide on a strategy

You may have more than one option for dealing with your non-priority debts. You need to make sure you understand what each option means, and the advantages and disadvantages, so you can be sure what you decide is right for you.

What are the options for dealing with my non-priority debts?