Debt and benefit advice

Debt can affect anyone at anytime. It can be caused by many things such unemployment, bereavement, illness or a relationship breakdown. The best way to resolve your debt problems is to tackle it early. If you are struggling to pay your rent and other bills, call us on 01626 322780 and talk to our Rents Team.

If you're already in a large amount of debt, don't panic, you can still take steps to get yourself back on track. You can arrange to see our Money Matters Advisor, John Smith, who can help you manage your debt so that you can start paying it off. John will be able to point you in the right direction of other organisations who can help and work with you and any credit control companies to arrange re-payment schemes on your behalf. 

There are some things that you can do for yourself and this includes everyone, not just those who are in debt.

Pay off your priority debts first
A priority debt is defined as one where non payment can result in you being imprisoned, losing your home or losing essential goods or services these can include:

  • Paying your rent - losing your home
  • Paying Council Tax - prison sentence
  • Paying Magistrates’ Court fines - prison sentence
  • Television License - prison sentence
  • Gas and Electricity - loss of service

Generally speaking all other debts are non-priority because in order to enforce their rights, a creditor will need to take you to Court where it is possible to reach a payment arrangement with the Court’s approval. We can assist you with any Court action made against you.

Please remember that you cannot be sent to prison for any non-priority debt, such as a credit card or bank loan.

How much can you afford to pay off each month?
You can download a budget form from the The National Debt Line website, choosing to fill in either your weekly or monthly budget. Once you have completed the form you should e-mail it to or post it to John Smith at Teign Housing, Millwood House, Collett Way, Newton Abbot, TQ12 4PH. If you need any help in filling out this form get in touch with John Smith on 01626 322788 and he will be able to help you.

Loan Sharks
A loan shark is someone who lends money at a profit, but does not have a Consumer Credit Licence. Very often they charge horrendous amounts of interest and threaten violence if you are unable make the re-payments. What they do is illegal and it is important to remember that you have no legal obligation to pay any money back to a loan shark. You can check if someone has a Consumer Credit Licence here

You can report a loan shark in complete confidence to the Rents Team on 01626 322780 who can provide advice and support.

For further information about loan sharks and how to report them you should visit

Useful sources of information


This notice is for information only, you are not required to take any action

We are participating in an exercise to promote the proper spending of public money.

We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds in order to prevent and detect fraud.

The Audit Commission currently requires us to participate in its anti-fraud initiative. For this initiative, we are providing details of tenants so that they can be compared to information provided by other public bodies. This will ensure, for example, that no benefits/pensions are being paid to persons who are deceased or no longer entitled, and that income is being declared when housing benefit is applied for.

Sometimes wrong payments are made because of a genuine error. Previous exercises have uncovered instances of tenants receiving too little benefit, resulting in the payments to tenants being increased. These exercises, therefore, help promote the best use of public funds.

You do not need to respond to this notice. You may be contacted again in the future if the exercise suggests you are not receiving the correct amount of benefit. If you do have any questions, you should contact Karen Ball on 01626 322771 or e-mail: