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Breathing Space Debt Respite Scheme

What is the Breathing Space Scheme?

On the 4th May 2021, new regulations came into effect to help people in problem debt to better manage their finances. There are two types of Breathing Space, a standard space and a mental health crisis space.

The Breathing Space scheme provides protections for people in problem debt by pausing enforcement action and freezing charges, interest and fees for qualifying debts. The standard moratorium freezes these for up to 60 days and a mental health crisis moratorium provides further protections, lasting as long as a person's mental health crisis treatment, plus 30 days.

Breathing Space is not a debt relief scheme. The debt remains due, it (and arrears) just cannot be enforced during the Breathing Space period.

How do I know if I am eligible?

To be eligible for a Breathing Space, you need to be an individual who:

To enter a mental health crisis Breathing Space, you must meet the above requirements, plus be receiving mental health crisis treatment.

What are qualifying debts?

The debts that qualify for a Breathing Space are:

Debts that are excluded are:

How do I start a Breathing Space?

To enter into a Breathing Space, you need to contact a Debt Advisor. Citizen's Advice Fareham can provide this service and is accessed by either phone on 01329 223117 or via webchat at External Hyperlink.

The Council's Housing Welfare Officer can also provide this service. Please contact or 01329 824373.

A Debt Advisor cannot charge you for providing advice or entering you into a Breathing Space.

What happens next?

Once the Debt Advisor has confirmed that you are eligible, they will enter your details onto the Breathing Space Register. This will send out a notification to all creditors to who you owe debt to. They will not be able to contact you to request payment of the debt(s) or undertake enforcement action against you.

If you are in a standard Breathing Space, your Debt Advisor will contact you for a mid-way review. This is to ensure the Breathing Space is still appropriate for you and that you are still paying your ongoing liabilities.

Once the Breathing Space ends creditors can start to:

For more information please contact the Council's Housing Welfare Officer on or 01329 824373.

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