Can you help me with water bill arrears in Buckinghamshire?

(Request received from Josephine in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire)

I would highly appreciate a financial support from you to enable me bring my unexpected water bill arrears to date. Although I am consistent with my payments, there seem to be an overwhelming amount clear to enable me secure a mortgage.

Thank you so much for your response to my petition. I live in Milton Keynes, MK14 7AF; South East Region. I would appreciate your earnest support so much at this period to help me settle this bill and secure my mortgage ASAP. I would also appreciate any information you would like to let me know about this support;  PLEASE! Many thanks.

Thank you so much for your help.

Dear Josephine,

I am assuming by your postcode that you are an Anglian Water customer. While I cannot provide direct advice, my goal is to give you the information and tools that you need to correct the arrears and maintain your water service.

Bill credits are an unlikely option since the water company cannot reduce the actual amount of your balance. The Anglian Water Assistance Fund is an external charitable trust that provides grant money to pay bills of those who experienced a crisis. Funding is limited, so not all applications for aid will be approved. Calls to 01733 421060 will be given careful consideration.

There are several bill discount schemes that Anglian Water participates in to reduce the future bills of lower income households. These will only reduce future bills and will not help with your current arrears.

If your arrears have not been referred to a debt collection agency or pursued in County Court, then the water company can help you with a payment plan. Only the mortgage company can decide whether to approve the mortgage before the arrears are repaid in full. That would require a payment plan to be agreed upon and for you to follow that plan. Even with an approved instalment arrangement, there is no guarantee that the mortgage can be issued.

Another option is to sell an asset to raise quick cash. This can be one of the best ways to handle the problem since it clears the debt quickly without generating additional debt.

I don’t know if you have considered selling something of value. This could include heirlooms or collectibles that have significant value. Perhaps there are items in your home or in storage that you have been holding onto that you could part with. You could search for similar items listed with Gumtree or some other classified ad site to see what pricing is possible for some of the items in your home.

Borrowing money to pay a debt is another potential choice. A family loan may make it easier to qualify for the mortgage since it does not appear on your credit record. Other off-the-books loans can work similarly, though these are generally not a preferred option due to the oppressive interest rates often charged.

A credit union loan can be a workable solution. This can replace the outstanding arrears with an account that is in good standing. There are consequences to opening new debt accounts, which could include loss of a few points on your credit rating. For this reason, it is a good idea to request advice from the mortgage firm prior to opening any new accounts. There are a couple of cooperatives in Buckinghamshire that could lend you the money if you meet the eligibility requirements. They offer special products that are designed to meet the needs of lower income residents. Rates are quite low, making this an attractive option.

Your mortgage firm can provide advice regarding the appropriateness of some of these options. You may also wish to visit Milton Keynes Citizens Advice Bureau at Acorn House on Midsummer Boulevard, or call them on 01908 604475. MK Money Lifeline offers free debt advice through the hotline 0300 1235 198. Community Money Advice is a registered charity.

Milton Keynes Money Advice is a service of New Life Church. An adviser can offer free advice on dealing with the arrears. Enquiries may be made through email ([email protected]).