Debt Relief Order
A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is a cheaper alternative to bankruptcy.
A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is a cheaper alternative to bankruptcy. You can only get a DRO if you meet the following criteria:
- You owe less than £20,000 in total,
- If you own a car it must be worth less than £1,000,
- You do not own anything else that could be sold for more than £1,000,
- You have less than £50 left each month after your essential expenses are paid,
- You have lived or worked in Northern Ireland for the last 3 years, or
- You haven’t applied for a DRO in the last 6 years.
To apply for a DRO you will need to speak to an ‘Approved Intermediary’. You will find contact details for all of these organisations in the next steps section.
To apply for a DRO, you need to pay a one off £90 fee. If your application is not successful you do not get the £90 refunded.
Once a DRO is in place you will not have to pay anything to your creditors for one year. During this year your creditors are not allowed to ask you to pay any money to your debts. At the end of the year your debts will be written off if you still meet the qualifying criteria.
If you no longer fit the qualifying criteria at the end of the 12 months, you will have to start paying the debts again.
Important points to remember about a DRO:
- A DRO would give you a 12-month break from payments and your creditors. After this, your debts would be written off.
- You have to pay the £90 fee before applying. You don’t get this back if you are rejected because you don’t fit the criteria.
- A DRO will appear on your credit reference file for 6 years. This means getting credit will be harder in the future.
- Priority and non-priority debts
- Bank accounts and debt
- Drawing up a budget sheet
- Negotiating reduced payments to your debts
- Free Debt Management Plans
- Administration Order
- Debt Relief Order
- Individual Voluntary Arrangement
- Write Offs
- Will I be 'blacklisted'?
- What can creditors do if I don't pay?
- Should I tell creditors about my mental health?
- Getting help from a specialist adviser
- Next steps