The following FAQs may answer any queries you have but get in touch if you can’t find what you’re looking for
How does an IVA work?
Our Insolvency Practitioner (IP) will negotiate a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors which lets you pay one low monthly IVA payment of whatever you can realistically afford for a fixed time period, normally five years
Which debts can be included in an IVA?
Most unsecured debts can be included in an IVA. These include:
Gas, electricity, water and phone bills
Any remaining balance after home or vehicle repossession
Business loans that are personally guaranteed
The following types of debt cannot be included in an IVA:
Secured debts such as mortgages and other secured loans
Fines and penalties related to criminal activity
Child maintenance arrears
Rent arrears (unless the debt is from a previous property)
Can I keep certain debts out of an IVA?
No. You can’t favour one creditor over another. All your unsecured debts including loans, credit cards, overdrafts, utility bill debts, store cards and tax bills must go into your IVA.
How much will I need to pay each month?
In an IVA you will only be expected to pay what you can sensibly afford each month.
The IVA process is intended to get you debt free not to get you in deeper.
We will help you calculate the amount of your monthly IVA payment when we go through your income and expenditure statement, so you’ll know what it is before you make a final decision to go ahead.
The IP who supervises your IVA will also be able to help with setting the right monthly amount for you and they will be on hand to advise if your circumstances change and it’s appropriate to alter the monthly payment or if you have good reason to pause the arrangement due to unforeseen circumstances.
Will I lose my home?
No, you won’t. For a homeowner one of the big advantages of an IVA over bankruptcy is that in an IVA, the sale of your home cannot be forced unlike in personal bankruptcy where homeowners are required to sell their interest in any property.
If you have equity in your home you may be expected to re-mortgage and realise your share of any equity but creditors realise that by the time most people are entering an IVA they are unable to re-mortgage. You could be asked to re-mortgage in the fifth year of an IVA and any increase in your mortgage costs will be taken into account in calculating a reduced monthly IVA payment. If you were unable to re-mortgage and you had substantial equity in your home, your IVA could be extended for a final one-year period.
If you co-own your home with a spouse or partner, only your share of the equity would be affected by the arrangement, not theirs. Depending on individual circumstances it is sometimes possible to exclude home equity from featuring in an IVA proposal.
If you can release money from your home, it could mean that your IVA would be for a shorter period than the usual five years. It might enable a full and final payment on a discounted basis.
Can I keep my car?
Yes. In an IVA you wouldn’t have to give up ownership of your car if the car is a reasonable necessity, such as it being needed to do your job or to get you to and from work or to get children to school etc.
If there is a hire purchase agreement (HP) for the car, the HP payment will normally be included in your monthly expenditure budget
Can I be a company director whilst in an IVA
Yes, and as you may know, you could not be a company director if you were personally bankrupt.
What if some creditors don’t agree?
If your IVA proposal is accepted by creditors representing 75% of the debts owed to the creditors who vote, then your IVA will be approved. If a creditor doesn’t vote they are still bound by the IVA agreement.
Most regular creditors such as banks and credit card companies tend to vote in favour if an IVA proposal is sensible and there are no exceptional reasons to oppose it.
There are a small number of lenders who vote against IVAs almost as a matter of principal. We know who they are and we will be able to advise you when we prepare your income and expenditure statement whether any of your creditors are on the “awkward squad” list.
Can an IVA be shorter than 5 years?
An IVA usually lasts for five years but it can be shorter. On the other hand, if you were in an IVA and you struggle to keep up monthly payments or to raise equity from your home as you might have agreed, then an extra year could be added instead
It is possible to make a full and final settlement IVA which can be completed in a few months. This would apply if you can privately raise a lump sum or the sale of a property is in prospect.
How long will it take to arrange an IVA?
Provided you can give us the information and documents we need, like bank statements and payslips, we can usually arrange an IVA in 4 weeks from when we receive your paperwork. Emailing the documents speeds this up. The quality checking we do at the beginning also helps to smooth and speed up the process.
Whilst your IVA is being organised, you would not need to pay your creditors.
Creditors may still chase you whilst your IVA is being organised but we will help you deal with this and most responsible creditors will agree to give you a 30 day grace period to get the IVA completed. Once your IVA is approved the calls will stop and creditors will not take any further action.
What happens when I stop paying my creditors?
Once you have decided an IVA is the right debt solution for you, you should stop using the accounts you hold with the creditors and you should not make further payments to them. This includes any banks or companies that you owe money to
When your IVA proposal is being prepared you might still receive letters and phone calls from your creditors but if this happens, you should inform them you are in the process of arranging an IVA and give them our details. Most responsible creditors will agree to give you a 30 day grace period to get the IVA completed.
Once your IVA is agreed your creditors will no longer be allowed to contact you which relieves a lot of stress and means you are free to concentrate on the more important things in life such as your family, your job and planning for a debt free future.
What if I cannot make the monthly payments?
There are normally provisions in an IVA agreement which would allow you to take a payment holiday for a period of time provided the period of the IVA is extended by the same period. This is intended to introduce flexibility for unforeseeable circumstances.
The IP who supervises your IVA (called the Supervisor) can renegotiate with your creditors at any time and if you genuinely can’t keep up the agreed monthly payment you should discuss it with the Supervisor at the earliest opportunity to see if a reduced monthly payment can be agreed either temporarily or permanently depending on your individual circumstances.
Why should creditors write off some of my debt?
An IVA is simply a better deal for you and your creditors. If you went bankrupt the creditors would get less money, you could lose your home, car and not be able to serve as a company director. Also, the creditors have the benefit of an independent professional, your IP, managing your payments which is administratively more attractive than them making thousands of individual arrangements and trying to collect small sums.
Will I be able to keep my bank account?
Yes, provided you don’t owe the bank any money. However, if your bank is a creditor we would suggest you open a new bank account.
Every bank now offers a basic account with no credit checks carried out, so you will be able to get one but you will not be able to get an overdraft facility.
What happens at the end of my IVA?
Provided you have kept to the agreement and made your payments, your creditors will write off the remaining debt and you will be debt free and able to start building up your credit score and can potentially borrow money in future.
How much will the IVA cost?
There are no fees or charges for you to pay.
The IP who nominates you for an IVA will agree their fees with your creditors and they will be paid out of the monthly payment you pay into your IVA. The IP’s fees are made up of a Nominee’s fee which is a fixed amount for preparing the IVA proposal and processing it through to conclusion. The IP will also be paid a Supervisor’s fee which is ordinarily around 15% of your monthly payment, for supervising the IVA.
Can I run a business whilst in an IVA?
Yes you can.
Will this affect my credit rating?
Yes, like all of your credit activity it will be recorded on your credit file for six years. However, if you’re considering any debt relief option you should be aware that they will all affect your credit rating.
Who will know I have an IVA and will it be made public?
Because an IVA is a private matter between you and your creditors there will not be any publicity in the local papers as there often is with a bankruptcy. Although your name will not be published in the newspaper, your IVA will be entered onto the government insolvency register, which is a searchable public database.