Ask CAB: How can I keep getting help to pay my bills during pandemic?

Due to loss of income, I agreed a break from payments to my mortgage in June. This is coming to an end, but the ongoing restrictions means I still have much less money coming in. I am worried about not being able to make payments and losing my home. What can I do?

You should approach your lender first as both customers who have not applied for a payment deferral before, and those like you who may need to apply for another one, have until October 31 to arrange this under current guidance.

This is not just for mortgages, but other loans too. If, for example, if you arranged a three-month payment deferral with your lender on October 31, this would remain in place until January 31, 2021.Even after payment deferral end, banks and building societies will still need will still need to offer support for customers who need it.

This might include extending the length of time over which you have to repay the loan, or a restructuring a mortgage.

If people need further short-term support, lenders can continue to offer arrangements for no or reduced payments for a specified period to give customers time to get back on track. However, while the payment deferrals based on the June guidance did not affect your credit file, new guidance shows that normal credit reporting will apply to any new types of support offered. Lenders are expected to let customers know how new support will be shown on their credit file.

Get in touch with a free-to-access service like Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau, Advice Works, or Stepchange if you need advice on managing debts.

When I left my last job I fell out with my manager, who was the owner of that business. I have tools in the office, and have also asked for my certificates from training I was put through while working for them, as I will need these for a new job I have found. My former employer is refusing to give me my tools back, and won’t give me my certificates because they paid for my qualifications. Is this allowed?

The short answer is that no, the employer has no right to retain your tools or professional certificates. Certificates for professional qualifications belong to you, even if your employer paid for them.

Sometimes employers do try to hold onto items that you own because they think you owe them money, or are keeping things that belong to them, or they won’t let you go and collect them because they have barred you from attending the workplace.

It can be hard getting your items back and the first step would be to contact your employer in writing and provide evidence, if possible, that you own what you are looking to have returned.

You could also offer to have someone else collect your belongings to avoid a standoff.

Some people think that you can call the police to get help, but this isn’t true.

As a last resort, you could to go to court to recover your tools, while you should be able to get copy of certificates from whoever issued them, albeit there is likely to be a small fee.

If it gets to the stage that court action looks necessary, speak to us about the process and potential costs.

With the new restrictions announced this week about households not mixing, I am worried that I will not be able to keep working. My childcare provider stopped operating earlier in the year and, since then, my parents have been coming round to look after the kids while I’m at work.

There is an exception to the rule that prevents people being able to go into other people’s houses, which will allow someone to come in and provide essential childcare.

Your parents are still allowed to provide childcare, or you do have the option of employing a provider to come to your home and provide this service.

Daily Record – Paisley