How can I get a Debt Relief Order?
Getting a Debt Relief Order (DRO) can seem like a complicated process. Some people see that it is a legal, insolvency solution and assume that you will have to go to court – you don’t. Others are simply confused by the many eligibility criteria necessary for this debt solution. Unfortunately, a DRO does have strict eligibility criteria, which can limit your ability to get a DRO. If this is the case, don’t worry! There are plenty of other debt solutions that could help you.
If you can answer these questions with a ‘yes’, you could be eligible for a DRO:
- Do you rent your home?
- Do you have less than £20,000 of unsecured debt?
- Is your surplus income (your income minus all your essential expenditure, like rent and food) less than £50 every month?
- Is your car worth less than £1,000?
- Are your other assets worth less than £1,000 in total?
- Have you never had a DRO before, or at least have not been granted one in the last 6 years?
- Would the DRO be the only insolvency procedure you are currently using to solve your debt problems?
- Have you lived, or worked, in England, Wales or Northern Ireland for the last 3 years?
First: Contact and discuss your financial situation with an official DRO advisor. You cannot apply for a DRO on your own, a DRO adviser must assess your income, expenditure and ensure that you meet all the criteria above.
Second: If your adviser finds that you are eligible, then you can apply for a DRO. Your advisor will work with you to help you fill out the application, which is then sent to the Official Receiver at the Insolvency Service. This is a civil servant who is an authorised officer of the bankruptcy court. You must submit a £90 fee along with your application.
Third: Once the court agrees that you are eligible for a DRO, they will accept your application. You will not be required to go to court. Now that it has been accepted, the value of your debts are frozen. Your debts earn no interest, and you do not have to make payments. Your creditors should not contact you and they cannot take legal action against you. As long as your circumstances remain the same, you remain in the DRO until 12 months have passed.
Fourth: After 12 months have passed, your debts are written off. This only happens if your circumstances have not changed as the DRO provides evidence that you are unable to pay off your debts in a reasonable amount of time. Your DRO may still be recorded on the Insolvency Register, which can impact your credit score, but it is still possible to begin rebuilding your credit file.