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Get the debt help you need with an IVA

If you are finding it difficult to cope with unsecured debts then youmay want to consider an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA).

What is an IVA?

An IVA is a formal agreement with your eligible creditors for any existing debts. The process begins with a review of your finances to see what debts you have and what you can afford to pay back. If an IVA is the best course of action for you we can put forward a proposal to those creditors.

If the proposal is accepted it means that any creditor, who has debts included in the IVA, can’t take any further action against you providing you stick to the terms of the arrangement. IVAs normally last for five years but can be extended to six under certain circumstances. Debts in the IVA are written off once it comes to an end.

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Important information about an IVA – What you need to consider

Details of an IVA are made public on an accessible register. Your credit rating will be adversely affected for at least six years when you enter an IVA. As a result you may find it harder to obtain credit during this period. If you’re a homeowner you may need to release equity in the final year of the IVA. Defaults registered against your credit file may affect your ability to obtain future credit, including re-mortgaging your property.

If you don’t keep up your IVA payments you could be at risk of Bankruptcy through a creditors petition. Not all debts can be included and these will still need to be addressed. In our experience entering in to an IVA takes between 6-8 weeks. In this period you should still make payments to creditors – failure to do so may result in an increase in any arrears or interest and charges.

You will also face restrictions on spending during the term of your IVA. IVAs are not available in Scotland.


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Useful IVA facts

Unsecured debts are the most typical which can be included. These include

  • Unsecured debts from personal borrowing (loans, credit cards and overdrafts).
  • Tax arrears
  • Catalogue debts
  • Utility bills (from a previous address and supplier)
  • Disconnected mobile bill
  • Rent arrears (from a previous address)
  • Selected items purchased through finance
  • Car finance (if you don’t have the car)
  • Council tax arrears

In some instances a service which you’re are no longer using, but where money is owed, has the potential for inclusion in an IVA e.g. unpaid medical or nursery bills.

Secured debts cannot be included.

Details of IVAs are made public. A record of when you started your IVA will be retained by credit reference agencies for a minimum of six years. During this period you may find it harder to obtain credit below the market average rate.

Within the proposal your creditors are looking for your ability to repay as much of the debt as reasonably possible. But restrictions may have to be applied to your expenditure as part of your IVA.
Important: There is no guarantee that an IVA proposal will be accepted by creditors. Though we would only propose this when there is a high expectation of success.

With an IVA your mortgage and secured payments are taken in to account before other outgoings – this includes your debts. As a result, unlike bankruptcy, your home is protected.
If you have a large amount of equity in your property you may be required to make a contribution from this. You would do this through re-mortgaging. The re-mortgage clause is subject to affordability – so you’re won’t be required to pay more than you can afford. During an IVA your credit rating will be adversely affected – and this may affect your ability to get a re-mortgage. In the event you can’t re-mortgage the IVA may be extended by an additional year.

Should your financial circumstances get worse it may be possible to reduce payments in one of two ways:

  • Through a review and approval of your IVA supervisor
  • For bigger changes this would be done through ‘variation’. This is where creditors vote to approve or refuse the change.


Should your circumstances improve (e.g. through a windfall or inheritance) you will be expected to contribute some part of this into the IVA.

If your IVA fails and you don’t make arrangements with those creditors you could be at risk of being made bankrupt.

Two of the main criteria are

  • You must have debts of at least £5,000
  • You can afford a monthly minimum of £70 towards them

If you fail to meet or fulfil the obligations of your IVA creditors could contact you regarding these debts or also petition for your bankruptcy.

An IVA is based on individual circumstances so payments will vary on a case by case basis.  In the event your circumstances change this may affect your monthly payment. However the overall duration of the IVA won’t change.

IVAs normally exclude the following debts:

  • Student loans
  • Child Maintenance
  • Secured debts
  • Court fines

Other debt exclusions may apply. IVAs are not available in Scotland.

Every IVA case is considered based on the circumstances. So costs will vary.

For illustrative purposes we’ll provide an example scenario to help outline the costs.

This is based on an IVA with £31,000 of unsecured debts, five year duration without equity in a property paying £300 per month.

Nominee’s fee (usually equivalent to the first five contributions): £1,500

Supervisor’s fee**: £2,475

Supervisor’s costs*: £900

Total returned to creditors: £13,625 (44%)

Total paid by borrower: £18,000 (58%)

**15% of further monthly payments once the Nominee’s fee has been satisfied

* Bond fee £50, DTI Fee £15, plus other case dependent costs.


For more information we recommend that to speak to us first for a breakdown of costs for any individual scenario.

IVAs are not available in Scotland but alternatives are available.

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