Having debt hanging around your neck can truly be a stressful experience.

During difficult times, it’s easy to accumulate such debts and worry about how to pay them back.

For some people, the best option might seem to run from your debts, moving house or leaving the country.

This leaves people to ask questions such as, ‘can debt collectors find my new address?’ We take a look at this question in more detail, and look at ways to manage your debt. 

It’s not your fault. Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman have risen this year from 830 to 2,006, so it’s safe to say that you’re not alone.

Deal with your debt today and feel amazing tomorrow.

Moving and debt 

Some people feel that, if they have a lot of debt registered against one name or address, they can simply move house and hope that the issue goes away.

In some circumstances this can appear to work – the new owners/tenants of the house might get a letter about your debts, making the trail seem to go cold. However, things are rarely this straight forward. 

Moving means trying to live off-grid, as your debts are tied to your credit records. So, if you do move, you won’t be able to take out any credit in your name or receive any benefits. Similarly, you’ll find it hard to rent a house or change jobs. 

Don’t worry, here’s what to do!

You could get rid of debt collectors by writing off some of your debt.

There’s 7 debt solutions in the UK, choosing the right one can take years off your debt, but the wrong one can be expensive and drawn-out.

Start our calculator to find your best debt solution:

Find your best debt solution

This 4 question debt calculator will tell you if you’re eligible.

What is the total amount of your debt?

Can debt collectors find my new address?

In the age where just about everything is digital, it’s easy for debt collectors to find you. Although you might move multiple times, it’s likely that you’ll leave a trail when you do so.

So, even though moving might make it harder for a creditor or debt collection agency to find you, you’re probably only delaying the inevitable. What’s more, as soon as they find your new contact details or address, they’ll start bombarding you with letters. 

There is another downside when it comes to trying to change your address. Once they finally catch up with you, you’ll also be liable for any extra collection fees and interest that they might charge. 

How do creditors find you? 

There are all kinds of ways that creditors and debt collection agencies can track you down and find your new address.

For example, if you’ve taken out a car loan, they can check with the DVLA to track where you’ve registered your vehicle. Similarly, if it’s credit card debt, they can easily find the address that’s on file. 

Even if you move, there are plenty of ways that debt collectors can find your address. If you want to take out a mobile phone contract, for example, you will likely need a credit check and have a registered address.

Similarly, if you receive a paycheque or benefits, you will need a registered address, which can be used to track you.  

Don’t worry, here’s what to do!

There’s 7 debt solutions in the UK, choosing the right one can take years off your debt, but the wrong one can be expensive and drawn-out.

Start our calculator to find your best debt solution:

Find your best debt solution

This 4 question debt calculator will tell you if you’re eligible.

What is the total amount of your debt?

Can I move and not tell my creditors? 

Of course, there is the potential for you to just up and move. Although this seems tempting, there are numerous downsides with this approach.

For a start, most credit reference agencies gather data from all kinds of places, including rent and utility bills. So, it will be hard for you to move anywhere in your name and hide from debt collectors.

Similarly, if you don’t have a credit record, you may find it hard to rent anywhere at all. 

Another downside is that you won’t be able to change jobs if you move and don’t tell creditors. Employers need to see identification documents and pay money into your bank account.

These will need to be tied to an address, which debt collectors can use to trace you. 

Feeling like Chandler?

how to debt

Is all this information starting to feel overwhelming? Don’t panic! I’ve put together a 4 question calculator so you can quickly and easily find the best debt solution for you.

Answer the four questions now.

What about if my debt is statute-barred?

In some cases, if your debt is older than six years old and you haven’t heard anything from your creditors or made a payment in that time, it may be statute-barred. This effectively means that the debt is no longer legally enforceable.

However, you need to check whether this is the case for the money you owe – certain types of debt cannot expire. 

It’s also worth noting that, if a creditor has taken out a CCJ against you to chase the debt, it cannot be statute-barred. 

Can I just change my name?

It may seem like simply changing your name can help you hide from debt collectors. However, changing your name on official documents is often a complex process. You’ll need to apply for an official document, such as a deed poll. 

Even if you do change your name, this doesn’t mean that your debts simply go away. They are still yours no matter what you call yourself.

There are plenty of databases that keep hold of your details, and it’s often easy enough to link your old name to your new one. 

Find your best debt solution

This 4 question debt calculator will tell you if you’re eligible.

What is the total amount of your debt?

Can I be traced by debt collectors if I move to another country? 

Leaving the UK can make it harder for creditors and debt collection agencies to trace you. Usually, information isn’t shared between countries when it comes to credit and debt. Your new credit records won’t be tied to your UK ones. 

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be traced. If you owe a lot of money, companies and specialist tracking organisations can be used to find you. They can then try everything possible to make you pay what you owe. 

What debt solutions are there?

Of course, there are other options other than trying to hide from debt collectors or creditors. In our article on debt options, we look at a variety of methods of solving your problems.

For example, things like IVAs and debt consolidation loans can help you reduce your monthly payments. They can even help you write-off debt. These are often much better options than trying to outwit those you owe money to. 

Similarly, there are various organisations and charities that can help you find the assistance you need. StepChange is a charity that gives help and advice, as is National Debtline.

If you want to have an in-person conversation with someone, you’ll find that Citizens Advice is a good place to go. 

Clearly, many of these options are much more effective than continuously running from your debt. Many can help you get a clean new start when it comes to your finances.


Can Bailiffs find my new address?

Yes. There are lots of methods which allow bailiffs to find you at your new address. This is why you should never try to ignore them.

How does a creditor know where you live?

The creditor knows where you live due to the information you provided them with when you first applied to use their service. They then are permitted to pass this info onto collectors.

What happens if there is nothing for bailiffs to take?

If bailiffs cannot retrieve payment for the debt owed then they will likely inform your creditor who will take court action against you in an attempt to make you insolvent.

Scott Calculator

*Note: This is a real life example based on a customers’ savings data in October 2020.

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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