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Debt Relief Order... Is It Right For You?

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Debt Relief Order


We understand how stressful debt can be and can help you take that first step to recovery.
 A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is one way of dealing with debts you are struggling to pay back. It allows you to take a break from paying back some kinds of debt for a specific amount of time (usually a year). Once the DRO ends, many of the debts included in it will be written off.

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Is a Debt Relief Order right for me?

If you’re not sure whether a DRO is the right thing for you ask yourself the following questions…

 Are you struggling to repay your debts?

 Do you feel stressed by lenders contacting you about payments?

 Are you worried about debts affecting your personal life?

 Do you feel that your financial situation is out of control?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then a DRO may be the best solution for you.

If you owe less than £20,000, have lived or worked in England or Wales in the last 3 years, have less than £1000 in assets (including any property or vehicles), and have less than £50 left each month after you’ve paid your normal household bills, you may be able to get a DRO.

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What Is A Debt Relief Order?

A Debt Relief Order is one way of dealing with debts you are struggling to pay back. It allows you to take a break from paying back some kinds of debt for a specific amount of time (usually a year). Once the Debt Relief Order ends, many of the debts included in it will be written off. You can only apply for a Debt Relief Order through an authorised debt advisor, who is usually referred to as an ‘approved intermediary’. They make an application on your behalf to an official of the bankruptcy court, who approve or deny the Debt Relief Order.

If you receive more income or a lump sum of money which means that you would be able to pay back your debts, your Debt Relief Order might be cancelled and you would have to pay back your debts.

How Do You Get A Debt Relief Order?

You can’t apply for your own Debt Relief Order. Applications can only be made by an authorised debt advisor. They will help you complete the application and guide you through the process. You will have to pay the Official Receiver’s fee of £90 in cash when you apply. This fee will not be refunded, even if your application is refused. Some charities will pay the fee on your behalf – your debt advisor will be able to tell you more about this.

You must make it clear in your application if you have given away or sold your assets for less than they were worth in the 2 years before your application. You must also make it clear if you have paid some creditors but not others in the 2 years before your application. If you have done either of these things your application may be refused.

You will need to give your advisor and the Official Receiver full information about your finances, including information about any bank accounts, savings, assets, debts, insurance policies, pensions, and your income and outgoings. They will also need to know your current name and any past names, and your address and contact details.

You must tell the Official Receiver if your circumstances change during the process.

Who Can Get A Debt Relief Order?

If you owe less than £20,000, have lived or worked in England or Wales in the last 3 years, have less than £1000 in assets (including any property or vehicles), and have less than £50 left each month after you’ve paid your normal household bills, you may be able to get a Debt Relief Order.

You can’t get a Debt Relief Order if you’ve already had a Debt Relief Order in the past 6 years, or if you’re already involved in another formal insolvency procedure like bankruptcy. If someone else has asked for you to be made bankrupt, you can ask them if you can apply for a Debt Relief Order instead.

What Happens If Your Debt Relief Order Is Approved?

Your Debt Relief Order is recorded in the Individual Insolvency Register until 3 months after it is completed.

The Official Receiver will contact you and tell you about what you must do as a part of the process. They will also contact all the creditors who have been listed in the Debt Relief Order and tell them that you cannot pay your debts and that the creditors may not take further action against you to recover the money.

You cannot make payments to any of the creditors listed in your Debt Relief Order. If you are asked for payment, you must tell the creditor about the Debt Relief Order.

If you are given any money or assets or your income increases during the process you must tell the Official Receiver. If the Official Receiver thinks that you can afford to start paying back your debts, your Debt Relief Order may be cancelled.

There are some things that you can’t do during your Debt Relief Order. You can’t:

Start, promote, direct, or manage a business without the court’s permission

Manage a business with a different name without telling anyone you do business with about your Debt Relief Order

Borrow more than £500 without telling the lender about your Debt Relief Order, even if you’re borrowing with someone else

Write cheques that you know are likely to bounce

Apply for an overdraft without telling your bank about your Debt Relief Order

If you do any of these things you will have broken the law and you may be prosecuted.

If you open a new account with a building society or bank you will probably have to tell them about your Debt Relief Order. They might refuse to open the account because of this, or they might put restrictions on the account.

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