A debt relief order (DRO) is an insolvency procedure to deal with unmanageable debt if you owe less than £20,000 and meet other criteria.
How does it work?
A DRO freezes your debt repayments and interest for 12 months. If your financial situation hasn’t changed at the end of this period then all of the debts included will be written off.
Is a DRO right for me?
A debt relief order can be considered a low-cost alternative to bankruptcy however, to apply you have to meet certain criteria:
Your level of debt must be less than £20,000
You must live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
You must have less than £1,000 in assets and a car worth no more than £1,000
You must have less than £50 in surplus income per month after paying your household bills and living costs
You can't apply if you're a homeowner
How do I set up a DRO?
To apply online for a DRO, an individual must go through an intermediary. This third party is considered an approved debt adviser who has permission to offer advice regarding a DRO and complete relevant documents.
DROs are administered by the Insolvency Service’s Official Receiver. To locate an intermediary, contact an authority listed on the Insolvency Service website or a local Citizens Advice Bureau.
How much does a debt relief order cost?
You'll need to pay the Insolvency Service a one-off fee of £90. You can't get any discounts so the full £90 needs to be paid before your application can be submitted.
The fee can be paid in one lump sum or, if you live in England or Wales, in instalments over a six-month period. Once your fee has been paid and your application is submitted, you can't get your money back, even if the DRO is rejected or revoked.
Can creditors still pursue me?
If you are in a DRO then your creditors can't pursue you for your debts during the 12 month period. Once the DRO is complete, the debt will be written off and you will no longer be liable.
Can I apply for a DRO if I live in Scotland?
Debt relief orders are not available if you live in Scotland. In Scotland, a Minimal Assets Process (MAP) bankruptcy is a similar solution, but has different benefits, risks and fees associated with it.
What debts can I include in a DRO?
The following are considered debts by a DRO: credit card balances, overdrafts, loans, conditional sale agreements, buy now but pay later agreements, hire purchase agreements, rent, utilities expenses, telephone charges, Council tax, Benefit overpayments, and Social fund loans.
Be aware that goods obtained through hire purchase or conditional sale agreements might have to be returned.
Will my credit be affected by my DRO?
Possibly, because a note regarding the DRO will be placed on your credit file for six years. Therefore, you may find it difficult to obtain additional credit or open a bank account during this time.
How long will a DRO stay on my credit file?
A DRO will stay on your credit file for six years from the date it's approved. You are not allowed to take out credit during the twelve month term however you may also find it difficult until five years after the DRO has been completed.