IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) vs DRO (debt relief order)
If you’re unable to keep up with your unsecured debt repayments, you may be considering a debt solution.
In this guide, we compare the two to help you decide which, if either, is a suitable solution for you.
Both solutions are available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
What's in this guide?The difference between an IVA and a DRODeciding between an IVA and a DROCan I change from an IVA to a DRO?What next?
The difference between an IVA and a DRO
|Duration||An IVA usually lasts five or six years||A DRO lasts 12 months.|
There are always fees for an IVA but they can vary quite a bit between companies.
If you get an IVA from our sister company, they’ll only charge a fee if your IVA is accepted by your lenders. Those fees are paid out of – not on top of – your regular, affordable IVA payments.
Read more about individual voluntary arrangement fees.
|There’s a £90 fee for a DRO. You can pay it in one go or in instalments.|
|Lender contact||Lenders included in your IVA can’t chase you for payment or take legal action.||Lenders can’t chase you for payment or take legal action in connection to any debts covered by your DRO.|
|Interest and charges||Interest and charges on your debts will be frozen.||
When your DRO is accepted, you enter a 12-month period known as a ‘moratorium’ period. During this time your debts are frozen.
If your finances get better during the moratorium period, your lenders may ask you to pay them back and add interest and charges to what you owe.
If your situation doesn’t improve, your debts will be written off.
The details of your IVA will be recorded in the public insolvency register.
They usually stay there until three months after your IVA ends.
The details of your DRO will be recorded in the public insolvency register.
They usually stay there until three months after your DRO ends.
|Debt write off||Once you successfully complete your IVA – usually after five or six years - any outstanding unsecured debt included in your IVA is written off.||Your debts will be written off after 12 months.|
If you’re unable to remortgage, you may need to carry on making your IVA payments for up to an extra 12 months.
You could also be asked to leave if you’re behind with your rent.
|Car||You will typically be allowed to keep your car as long as its value isn’t excessive.||You’ll be allowed to keep your car as long as it’s worth no more than £2,000.|
For most people, an IVA won’t affect their job. But it may prove problematic in certain professions.
If you’re a solicitor or an accountant, for example, you might not be able to carry on in your current position with an IVA. Or you may only be allowed to keep your job subject to certain conditions.
For most people, a DRO won’t affect their job. But it may prove problematic in certain professions.
If you’re a solicitor or an accountant, for example, you might not be able to carry on in your current position with a DRO. Or you may only be allowed to keep your job subject to certain conditions.
|Credit file||An IVA will remain on your credit file for six years from the date it’s agreed.||A DRO will remain on your credit file for six years from the date it’s approved.|
Deciding between an IVA and a DRO
Whether an IVA or a DRO is suitable will depend on your personal circumstances.
An IVA might be suitable if you:
- can’t afford to pay your debts at the rate you originally agreed to, but you can afford to pay something each month
- want to protect assets like your home and car
A DRO might be suitable if you:
- can't pay your debts
- you have very little disposable income
- owe less than £30,000
- don't own anything of much value
- aren't a homeowner
There’s a lot to consider before committing to any debt solution. That’s why you should always get impartial debt advice first.
Can I change from an IVA to a DRO?
The rising cost of living means that many IVAs have become unaffordable over recent years. If you’re in this situation and you now qualify for a DRO, speak to your IVA firm about your options. One option would be to fail your IVA and apply for a DRO. Another option would be to ask your IVA firm to speak to your lenders and see if they would agree to complete your IVA early based on the amount of money you’ve already paid.
If you’re considering an IVA or a DRO, get debt advice. A professional debt adviser will make sure they understand the ins and outs of your situation and run through any suitable debt solutions.
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