StepChange Debt Charity logo

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

0800 138 1111 Freephone - including all mobiles

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 LILA bankruptcy, which works in a similar way.

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 (although you can have 1 vehicle worth up to £1,000 or 1 business vehicle worth up to £300)
  • 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.

DRO FAQs

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.

More of our DRO advice and help

Helping you become debt free...

"What an amazing service. It is not always easy to call for help on the phone and the advice given to me was very private and very helpful."

StepChange Debt Charity logo