Money Wellness

Life after a debt relief order (DRO)

A debt relief order (DRO) lasts for 12 months. During this time, you won’t be asked to make any payments towards the debts included in your DRO.

illustration of man sat on coins

What happens 12 months after a DRO?

After 12 months, if your financial situation hasn’t improved, the debts included in your DRO will be written off. That means you don’t have to pay them back.

You won’t receive official notice that your DRO has ended. Look at the Insolvency Service’s register to check the end date of your DRO. You can print this out as proof that your DRO has ended.

Make sure you do this within three months of the end date of your DRO. After this time, the entry will be removed.

How long after a DRO can I get credit?

You can't take out credit of more than £500 during a debt relief order, without telling the lender that you have a DRO. Lenders may be reluctant to accept a credit application from you once they know this.

After your DRO ends, you can apply for new credit, but it may continue to be a struggle to find lenders willing to take a chance on you.

This is because the DRO will still show on your credit file for six years from the date it was agreed.

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When will the DRO disappear from my credit file

A debt relief order stays on your credit file for six years from the date it’s approved. During this time, you may struggle to find lenders willing to offer you credit although it’s not impossible.

Some lenders will place more importance on your recent credit history. Others will refuse to lend to anyone with a DRO still on their credit file, regardless of whether it was approved one year ago or five.

Those that are willing to lend to you may charge a high rate of interest.

Building your credit rating after a DRO

After a debt relief order, there are certain steps you can take to improve your credit rating.

First, make sure the DRO has been marked as discharged on your credit report.

It’s also a good idea to check each debt included in your DRO has been marked as ‘satisfied’ or ‘partially settled’. If not, ask your creditors to update your file.

If you needed a DRO due to an event beyond your control, like a serious health problem or redundancy, you can apply for something called a notice of correction.

This is a written explanation of up to 200 words that credit reference agencies will show potential lenders. A notice of correction may sway a lender 's decision when they’re considering a credit application.

Other steps you can take to boost your credit rating after a DRO include:

  • making sure you’re registered to vote
  • taking out small amounts of credit from specialist lenders aimed at people in your position
  • making repayments on time and in full to demonstrate to future lenders you’d make a reliable customer

Rebuilding your credit rating will take time but, if you manage your money well, it can be done.

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