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Free advice on problem debt
based on what's best for you

0800 138 1111Freephone, including all major mobile networks*

i This solution is only available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Debt relief order (DRO)

A DRO can help you to write off debt that you’re unable to repay in a reasonable amount of time.

A debt relief order (DRO) is only available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you live in Scotland you might be able to apply for a MAP bankruptcy, is a similar solution, but it's important to note that it has different benefits, risks and fees associated with it.

To apply for a DRO you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Owe less than £15,000 in unsecured debts
  • You can’t be a homeowner
  • Have no more than £300 in assets
  • Have less than £50 a month left over after you’ve paid all of your living costs

How a DRO works

A DRO costs £90. They were introduced as a low cost alternative to bankruptcy, to help people with a low income and a relatively small amount of unsecured debt.

If your DRO is approved you debts are put on hold for 12 months. During this time your creditors cannot pursue you for the outstanding debt. If after the 12 months your circumstances haven't changed, then all of your debts are written off. Interest and charges can still be added during the 12 months but they will also be written off unless your DRO is cancelled (revoked) during the 12 month period.

Applying for a DRO

We are one of the few approved organisations who can submit a DRO application on your behalf.

To find out if a DRO is the best solution for you, you can use our online Debt Remedy tool. If you’d prefer to talk to one of our expert advisors call our free Helpline on 0800 138 1111 (freephone, including all major mobile networks*).


Are any debts excluded from a DRO?

Yes. The following debts can't be included in a DRO: All student loans, magistrates' fines, child support arrears, social fund loans, any claims for damage or personal injury that have been against the person applying for a DRO and any debts incurred under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

How will a DRO affect my credit rating?

A DRO will register on your credit file for 6 years. During this time you’ll find it hard to take out any further credit.

What assets are taken into consideration in a DRO application?

Assets would include items like:

  • Savings
  • Shares
  • collectables
  • Inheritance
  • Technical items
  • PPI claims

Household goods or tools of the trade aren't taken into account.

Where will my DRO be listed?

Your DRO and details such as your name and address will be listed in the Individual Insolvency Register (IIR). Your details will be listed for the duration of the DRO (12 months) and a further 3 months after it’s finished.

More of our DRO advice and help

Helping you become debt free...

"I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me." (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling (trading as StepChange Debt Charity) is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (Company No: 2757055 ) and a charity registered in England and Wales (Registered Charity No: 1016630). Registered office: Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG. Consumer Credit Counselling Service (Scotland) trading as StepChange Debt Charity Scotland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland (Company No: SC162719) and a charity registered in Scotland (Registered Charity No:SC024413). Registered office: 33 Bothwell Street, Glasgow G2 6NL. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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