Avoid a financial hangover this Christmas with advice from Oxford City Council’s homelessness and debt advice services.
At this time of year, with higher heating bills and the arrival of the post-Christmas credit card statements, many find themselves in debt. Paying your mortgage or rent must always be a priority debt so that no-one faces the possibility of losing their home.
The council aims to prevent homelessness whenever it can through early preventative measures or before full legal eviction happens. This includes providing advice and sign-posting to other organisations that can help people stay in their homes.
The council works with lenders and approved money advice agencies, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, to help homeowners find solutions to mortgage debt. Before a mortgage lender can repossess your home, they must:
- tell you how much you owe
- consider a request from you to change the way you pay your mortgage
- respond to any offer of payment you make
- give you reasons for turning down your offer of payment within 10 days
- give you a reasonable amount of time to consider any proposal they make
- give you 15 days’ written warning if they plan to start court action
- tell you the date and time of a repossession hearing
- let your council know within 5 days of getting notification of the date of the court hearing, in case you need to apply to the council as homeless
- The lender should notify the council that there is a court hearing date, and at this stage the Council will contact you to offer advice.
If you find yourself in difficulties with paying your mortgage, please get in touch with us.
Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, said: “Christmas is a time of giving, but you don’t want to give yourself a headache in the New Year with bills and debts you can’t afford. We know the real misery losing your home can bring, and our housing advice team can provide that early advice and help to help people stay in their homes”.
You can also contact the following organisations for more debt advice:
- StepChange Debt Charity - Phone: 0800 138 1111
- National Debtline - Phone: 0808 808 4000
- Payplan - Phone: 0800 280 2816
- Shelter - Phone: 0808 800 4444
- Debt Advice Foundation - Phone: 0800 043 4050