If you are one of the estimated one million hospitality workers (and counting) who have already lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis, or are one of the many that have been forced to take unpaid leave, here’s a checklist of things you need to do
We’re not experts on debt management and things are changing all the time in terms of help available from the government and other sources. But we’ve trawled useful documents and websites and chatted to some with experience in this area and complied what we hope will be a useful checklist to help you out just a little bit at this time.
First and foremost, of course, is not to panic. These are frightening times but there are people, resources and help out there – check out our guide to some useful ones here.
Step 1: Register your details for Universal Credit
And you need to find out what other benefits you might be entitled to. Usually this would be done at the Job Centre but at the current time you may well be better off registering online. If you do want to go to the job centre in person, find your nearest branch here.
Step 2: Contact your landlord or mortgage provider
Explain to them you are in the hospitality sector and your business has closed.
As part of emergency measures the government has announced that, ‘no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time’ and has promised to push through emergency legislation so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period.
It has made a three-month mortgage payment holiday is available to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus. However, at the end of this period, ‘landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.’
Money Advice Service has step-by-step advice on its website to help people who have recently lost their job.
For renters it advises the following:
- Find out if you are entitled to Housing Benefit to help pay your rent.
- Let your landlord know if you think you’ll fall behind with your rent at any point – you don’t want to risk eviction for non-payment, so it’s best to be upfront about your situation.
- Speak to a Housing Adviser in your local council’s housing department as soon as you can, especially if your landlord threatens eviction – you have rights as a tenant and your landlord has to follow certain procedures.
If you have a mortgage the advice is to:
- Check out any payment protection insurance or short-term income protection policies you have that cover you for redundancy. Claim straight away – there’s usually a waiting period before any payout starts, but making the claim is essential to start the clock ticking.
- In the past, because of the way payment protection policies were sold, you might not realise that you have this cover.
- Ask your lender whether your mortgage, loan or credit card is covered by insurance.
- If you have insurance and your claim is refused, you might have been mis-sold the policy and could be eligible to claim compensation.
Regardless of whether you are a home owner or renter – if you’re worried that you might be made homeless, you need to get expert advice – visit the Shelter website or call them on 0808 800 4444.
Step 3: Contact your local council
Explain to them your situation and ask for a reduction in rates/council tax.
Step 4: Contact all of your monthly subscriptions
Explain what has happened. Consider reducing your package, cancelling your package or even ask for a payment holiday.
Step 5: Contact all outstanding credit/debt providers
Request to defer or reduce payments.
Step 6: Examine your bank statements
Look for any non-essential spends or regular payments that can be cancelled.
Drinks-trade charities have launched a number of initiatives recently to help those affected by current events. Check out our guide here.