What help is available if you're struggling with your mortgage repayments, rent, or debt?

There is help and support available if you are struggling financially. Credit: PA

Many people are are facing increasing financial pressure, as soaring inflation exacerbates the rising cost of living.

That pressure is only growing, as the Bank of England hiked interest rates by 0.75% to 3% on Thursday.The increase will mean higher monthly mortgage repayments.

But it could also affect those with existing debt and renters, as landlords may increase rent to keep up with their growing mortgage payments.

So what help and advice is out there if you are struggling financially?

ITV News spoke to Citizens Advice about the best options depending on your situation:

What can I do if I am worried about keeping up mortgage repayments?

Thursday's interest rate rise will add around £3,000 per year on to mortgage repayments bills for households that are set to renew, the Bank of England said.Explaining what you should do if you are worried you cannot afford your mortgage after the latest rise, Graham O’Malley, Senior Debt Expert at Citizens Advice, said: “Carry on paying what you can, is our advice to anyone struggling with their mortgage payments.

"There is help out there: talk to your lender, talk to us at Citizens Advice or other debt charities.

“If your fixed rate deal is coming to an end, you will almost inevitably pay more.

"But it is still worth shopping around for a better deal and negotiating with your lender, even though the market is changing rapidly.”

Citizens Advice and other charities can help you find the best solution to your money concerns. Credit: PA

So, if you are struggling with your mortgage repayments:

  • Seek help from your lender, from Citizens Advice, or from other debt charities.

  • Check you're getting all the income you can claim.

  • Prioritise your mortgage payments and other bills like council tax, gas and electricity. This might mean reducing what you pay on any unsecured credit but remember this can impact your credit rating. If you’re unsure, get help from a free, independent and impartial charity like Citizens Advice.

  • Remember, companies should treat you fairly, you are not going to lose your home overnight. Mortgage companies are subject to rules and regulations in the way they deal with arrears and repossessions. These are set by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).

What should I do if my landlord is going to raise my rent?

If you are a tenant and you cannot afford a proposed raise in rent from your landlord, there are several options available:

  • Check your tenancy agreement - your landlord has to follow certain rules to increase your rent - the rules depend on what type of tenancy you have.

  • Negotiate with your landlord for a rent increase which you can afford.

  • Check if you can get benefits or universal credit to help with your rent.

  • Challenge your rent increase through a tribunal for rent complaints.

If none of the options work, contact Citizens Advice or another charity before deciding not to pay rent altogether - getting help early can avoid you getting evicted.

What should I do if I cannot afford to pay off my existing debt?

If you have existing debt, there may be ways you can reduce costs or boost your income through claiming benefits you are entitled to.

It is important to make sure you're paying your priority debts first and that you understand your options.

You might be able to talk to your creditors and arrange a way to pay them, or make a formal agreement called a 'debt solution'.

It depends on the type of debts you have, the total amount of debt you have and how much money you can pay towards your debt.

For more advice on debt repayments or other financial concerns, contact Citizens Advice for personalised support.

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