Skip to main content

Dealing with debt

With credit cards, store cards, overdrafts and bank loans readily available, it's easy to slip into debt. Most housing problems start because of financial difficulties, so if you do find yourself getting into debt, it's important to take action as soon as possible.

Are you in debt?

Tell-tale signs that your debts could be getting out of hand include:

  • missing more than one repayment on a store card or credit card
  • refusing to open bills or bank statements because you're afraid of what they'll say
  • borrowing money from friends and family that you know you'll never pay back
  • borrowing on one credit card or bank account to pay off another one
  • paying off the interest on your loans yet never reducing the loans themselves.

If you do get into debt there are three important things to remember.

  • Don't bury your head in the sand. Hiding bills and bank statements won't make them go away.
  • However much your debts pile up, your rent or mortgage payments should always be top priority. If you don't keep up with your rent or mortgage, you could end up homeless.
  • Help is at hand. The agencies listed below are experts in helping people deal with debt.

Rent and mortgage arrears

If you are having problems paying your rent or mortgage, there are steps you can take to sort out the problem and avoid eviction or repossession. The sections on rent arrears and mortgage arrears have more information.

Getting help with debt

You can also get help from:

Accountant in Bankruptcy (who are responsible for administering the bankruptcy process in Scotland) have a useful guide to dealing with creditors and debt.

You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or find your nearest money advice centre using the search at the Money Advice Scotland website.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're England

If you're still looking for help, try searching, or find out how to contact us

Was this page helpful?

This feedback tool can't offer advice. If you still need help, please call our free housing helpline on 0808 800 4444

Would you recommend Shelter Scotland's website to a friend, colleague or family member?
(0 - not at all likely, 10 - extremely likely)

Your feedback is being submitted

Success! Thank you for your feedback.

If you'd like to hear more about our work at Shelter Scotland, you can sign up to receive updates on our campaigns page.

Sorry, there was a problem sending your feedback to us. Please try again or contact us via the website if this error persists.

The fight isn't over - support us this summer

far from fixed campaign logo
It’s a disgrace that people are still homeless in Scotland today. Join our campaign
It’s a disgrace that people are still homeless in Scotland today.
Find out more about volunteering with Shelter Scotland
Volunteer with Shelter Scotland
Have you had a bad housing experience? Tell us about your story.
Share your story of a bad housing experience