Is an IVA suitable for me?
You will generally be suitable for an IVA if you have a regular, sustainable source of income. An IVA is only available if you can afford to pay something to your debts, but not the full amount your creditors want. If you have a lump sum to pay towards your debts, you may also qualify for an IVA.
You can only apply for an IVA if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. If you live in Scotland read our debt advice in Scotland page for more information on the solutions available to you.
How does an IVA work?
An IVA is managed by an insolvency practitioner (IP), who can help you draw up a repayment proposal to send to your creditors. At StepChange Debt Charity we have our own IVA company - StepChange Voluntary Arrangements - with a licensed IP, who will be able to do this for you.
Your IP will arrange a meeting of your creditors during which your IVA proposal will be accepted or rejected. Once your IVA is accepted it becomes legally binding. As long as you keep to the terms of your IVA, none of your unsecured creditors (even those who didn’t vote or who voted against the IVA) will be able to pursue you for any debt incurred prior to approval of the arrangement. An IVA is a form of insolvency so it is important that you get expert, impartial advice before deciding if it’s your best option.
How much are IVA fees?
There are always fees involved when you set up an IVA. The two fees that you'll need to pay will be a nominee and a supervisor fee. The nominee fee covers the cost of setting up your IVA and the supervisor fee is the yearly cost for managing it. The level of fees you'll pay will depend on your individual situation.
At StepChange Voluntary Arrangements our fees are set at the industry standard and we'll make sure you're fully aware of what we're charging. We will include the fees in your monthly payment, so there is never anything to pay up front.
Other things to keep in mind
Before you enter into an IVA, there are some things that you should take into consideration first:
- Should the IVA fail, creditors may request that the Supervisor petitions for your bankruptcy but this is unlikely.
- Once your IVA is set up, your spending will be restricted until the IVA comes to an end. You have the right to review your IVA terms should you find these restrictions unrealistic for your living costs.
- At the end of an arrangement, only debts included in the arrangement will be discharged. Any debts that can’t be included will still be left to pay, for example any money owed under family court proceedings, any court fines or debts arising from fraud, debts incurred after the IVA, or student loans.
- If you are recommended an IVA and you’re self-employed or live in Northern Ireland, you'll be referred to a third party organisation called Grant Thornton who will set up and administer your IVA.
- If you're a homeowner you will be asked to re-mortgage your property towards the end of the IVA. You could however offer a 3rd party sum equivalent to the equity as an alternative.