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i The advice on this page applies to anyone with personal debts taken out in the UK.

This is not my debt. What can I do?

Debt is always stressful. Even more when the debt is not yours.

The contact should stop if you can explain you do not owe the money.

Find out about your rights when dealing with people you owe money to. These are your 'creditors'.

Check it is not your debt

Make sure you do not owe this money.

Check if you have:

  • Any joint credit agreements
  • Ever agreed to cover a loan, rent or mortgage for someone else. This is called being a guarantor
  • Missed any payments

Look at your credit file to find out who you owe money to. This shows details of your finances for the last six years, including:

  • Missed or reduced payments
  • Any 'defaults' (failed payment agreements)
  • Court action taken to collect your debts

Clearing a debt from your credit file

Contact the credit reference agencies to get a debt removed from your credit file.

Find out more about claiming you do not owe a debt.

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Worried about money?

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A debt linked to your address?

Debts belong to a person, not the address. You do not have to pay money owed by someone who used to live in your home

You may get letters or visits about debt connected to your home when:

  • The people there before you have not told lenders they moved
  • There is a delay while records are updated

Here is what you can do:

  • Send a copy of your council tax bill to whoever is trying to make you pay. This shows who is living at the address
  • Write ‘not at this address’ on the envelope and return to sender. You do not have to pay for the postage
  • Complain if you continue to get letters. Read our guide to making complaints to creditors

Do not ignore letters about the debt.

You need to reply to:

Getting calls and texts

Calls about money you do not owe:

  1. Tell them you are not the person they are looking for
  2. Tell them to stop contacting you by phone
  3. Complain in writing if they keep contacting you
  4. Block the number

Texts about money you do not owe:

  1. Do not reply
  2. Block the number

Debt collectors wanting to enter your home

Debt collectors usually call. They act on behalf of companies you owe money to.

  • You do not have to pay someone who comes to your house
  • You do not have to let them in

Some debt collectors have extra powers. These are:

In England and Wales:

Enforcement agents or bailiffs.

In Scotland

Sheriff officers

They may be able to take goods, but only from the person they are court ordered to chase.

Find out more about the differences between bailiffs and debt collectors.

Bailiffs and Sheriff Officers

Do not let them into your home.

Instead, you can:

  • Talk to them through your letterbox
  • Ask them to move away from your front door
  • Show them your council tax bill to prove who lives there

You can complain if the bailiff refuses to leave. Find out more about bailiff complaints.

Credit taken out in your name

This is 'identity fraud'. It is a crime.

You should:

Can you be made to repay someone else's debt?


But only if:

  • You are the "guarantor" on a contract or loan for someone
  • You have a joint loan or credit agreement with someone

Guarantor loans and rental agreements

If you are the guarantor on a loan for someone else:

  • You get letters if they do not pay
  • You have to pay back what they owe

Do not ignore these letters.

You should:

  • Remind the person you helped to pay what they owe
  • Ask the lender or landlord to set up a payment plan you can afford

Find out more about being a guarantor.

Joint debts

You can be chased for money if your name is on the contract.

This is true even if your relationship with the other person has changed.

Find out more about joint debts.

Getting letters for someone who has died

When a person dies, their debts are paid off from their 'estate'.

Their estate includes:

  • Money left behind
  • Assets left behind

Sometimes this is not enough to clear all debts. In that case, the rest is usually written off.

Executors and Administrators

  • These are people responsible for administering someone's estate after they die
  • That means they follow instructions left by the person in their will

They are NOT responsible for the deceased's debts unless:

  • They do not do it properly
    • For example, giving relatives inheritance before paying debts
  • They have joint debts with the deceased
    • Send a copy of the death certificate to the creditor
    • This may be enough to end further contact

I have other debts in my name - can you help?

Take two minutes to answer a few simple questions, so we can understand the right way to help you.

You can also speak to one of our advisors over the phone.

worried woman reading paperwork

Worried about money?

Take two minutes to answer a few simple questions.

Get help now

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