When you’re declared bankrupt, most of your creditors have to stop chasing you for payment and shouldn’t contact you to ask you to pay. However, there are some exceptions.
This page explains the rules creditors have to follow after you’re made bankrupt and what you should do if you find they’re continuing to contact you.
What creditors must do if you’re made bankrupt
When you’re declared bankrupt, most types of creditor must stop taking any action against you to get you to pay what you owe. This means:
- they mustn’t do anything to try to get money from you, such as sending you letters or authorising debt collectors to visit you, although they can still send you letters to tell you the balance of your account
- they mustn’t start any new court action against you, unless they get express permission from the court to do so
If your creditors are still contacting you
If you find that your creditors are still contacting you after a bankruptcy order is made, you should follow these steps:
- check that the creditor is contacting you about a debt that’s included in the bankruptcy
- check whether they’re asking you to pay, or are just sending statements showing how much is outstanding on the account
- if the debt is included in the bankruptcy, don’t pay the creditor anything
- if the debt is included in the bankruptcy, tell the creditor to contact the official receiver or bankruptcy trustee
- if the creditor won’t co-operate, contact the official receiver or trustee yourself to tell them about the situation
If the creditor is chasing you for a debt that isn’t included in your bankruptcy, you’ll need to carry on dealing with them yourself.
If you think the debt should be included in the bankruptcy but you forgot to declare it, you’ll need to contact the official receiver. It may be possible to have the debt added to your bankruptcy.
When creditors can still chase you
Creditors are allowed to carry on chasing you for payment of certains kinds of debts, including:
- secured debts, such as a mortgage or charging order on property
- debts where a bailiff has got a walking possession order or controlled goods agreement made before your bankruptcy. If you don’t pay, they’ll be able to remove and sell your goods
- magistrates court fines
- maintenance arrears
- child support arrears
- social fund loans
- student loans
- any payments a court has ordered you to make under a confiscation order, for example for drug trafficking
- debts to HM Revenue and Customs, who have a right to recover payment by taking belongings after bankruptcy. They can’t try to make you pay in any other way, for example by taking money from your wages
- council tax arrears for which your local authority has obtained a council tax liability order before bankruptcy – your local authority has the right to use bailiffs to recover goods after a bankruptcy order is made. They can’t make you pay in any other way, for example by taking money from your wages. You can’t make a control of goods agreement once you are declared bankrupt and so bailiffs are only allowed to take and sell goods rather than entering payment arrangements. You should therefore not give access to bailiffs and keep cars you own off public roads.
- rent arrears – your landlord can’t force you to pay these, but if you don’t they may be able to evict you
If creditors are contacting you about any of these debts and you want to come to a payment arrangement, you’ll need to respond to them and try to make an agreement for paying what you owe.
Creditors contacting you because bankruptcy trustee not responding
Sometimes you may find that your creditors are continuing to contact you because the official receiver or bankruptcy trustee isn’t responding to them. Dealing with creditors is part of their job, so if they’re not doing it, you can make a complaint about them.
If the trustee is the official receiver, you should use the Insolvency Service’s complaints procedure.
If the trustee is an insolvency practitioner, you should complain to their professional body through the Insolvency Service Complaints Gateway.