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Debt Relief Orders (DRO's)

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Debt Relief Order

This section tells you everything you need to know about debt relief orders (DROs).

It explains who can get a DRO, and if you qualify how to get a DRO.

It covers the debts that can be included in a DRO and those that can't

debt relief order

What is a debt relief order?

A debt relief order (DRO) is a way for you to have your debts written off if you owe less than £20,000 and have very few assets.

If you qualify for a debt relief order (DRO), you will not have to make payments towards your debt included in your DRO for 12 months, after that your debts will be written off. Your creditors can not chase you for your debts during the 12 month period.

Take our debt test to find out how we could help >

Whos eligible for a DRO

To qulaify for a DRO all of the following things must apply to you:

  • You are unable to pay your debts
  • Your debts are up to £20000 (England & Wales) or up to £15000 in Northern Ireland
  • You have less than £50 left over each month after covering your household expenses
  • You don't own your home
  • Your assets (savings and other things you own) are worth less than £1000
  • Your vehicle is not worth £1000 or more (disability exceptions apply)
  • You haven't had a DRO in the last 6 years, or are not currently bankrupt or in an Individual Voluntary Arrangement
  • You have lived or worked in England or Wales in the last 3 years

To apply for a DRO

You get a DRO from the official receiver, an officer of the bankruptcy court, but you must apply through an authorised debt adviser. They’ll will also be able to help you fill in the pllication for a debt relief order.

How much does a DRO cost?

To apply for a DRO there's a fee of £90. If you can't afford to pay the fee you may be able to get help towards the cost from some charities.

Need debt advice?

Our panel of specialists can quickly advise you of your options if you are struggling with debt. Simply call the team on 0800 564 2211.
Alternatively take the online debt help test and see what help is available.

More about DRO's

What debts can be included in a DRO?

Debts that can go into a DRO are called qualifying debts. These qualifying debts must not be more than £20,000 in value if you live in England or Wales, or £15,000 if you live in Northern Ireland. They include:

  • Credit cards, overdrafts and loans
  • Rent arrears, phone and utility bills, council tax and income tax
  • Benefits overpayments (fraudulent claims can not be included)
  • Hire purchase or conditional sale agreements
  • Buy now pay later agreements

If you obtained any of these debts by fraud, you will still have to pay them when the DRO has ended.

What debts CAN NOT be included in a DRO?

  • Court fines
  • Child support and maintenance
  • Student loans
  • Social fund loans
  • Compensation for death or injury

Excluded debts do not count towards the total maximum debt allowed.

  • Last updated 09 November 2015

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