Debt relief orders

A debt relief order (DRO) provides relief from debt, subject to some exceptions. You can also search the debt relief order register.

What is a debt relief order?

A DRO lasts for 12 months, during which creditors named in it cannot take any action to recover their money without permission from the court. At the end of the 12 months you will, provided your circumstances have not changed, be freed from all debts included in your DRO.

DROs do not involve the courts. They are made under a partnership between the Insolvency Service and skilled debt advisers, called approved intermediaries, who will help you apply to the Insolvency Service for a DRO.

Is a DRO suitable for me?

To apply for a DRO, you must meet certain conditions:

  • you must be unable to pay your debts
  • you must not owe more than £20,000
  • you can own a car to the value of £1,000 but the total value of other assets must not exceed £1,000 (items such as clothing, furniture and tools for use in employment or a business may be disregarded)
  • after taking away tax, national insurance contributions and normal household expenses, your disposable income must be no more than £50 a month
  • you must either be currently domiciled (living) in Northern Ireland, or have been living or carrying on business in Northern Ireland at some time within the last 3 years
  • you must not have been subject to another DRO within the last 6 years
  • you must not be involved in another formal insolvency procedure at the time you apply

Due to the restriction on the value of assets the scheme is not suitable for homeowners.

More information

To find more information on Debt Relief Orders visit the following pages:

Debt relief register

Related to Debt relief orders

Access to information

How to request information from the Department for the Economy including Freedom of Information (FOI) and the use of our Publication Scheme.

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