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Individual voluntary arrangements. Is an IVA right for you?

An individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is a formal agreement to repay your creditors at an amount you can afford.

This usually lasts five or six years, and at the end of this time your remaining debt is written off. You make one affordable payment to us each month and we distribute it fairly amongst your creditors. During your IVA creditors should not contact you or increase your debt.

IVA advice at a glance

IVA benefits Things to consider
You make affordable monthly payments, usually over 60 or 72 months with any remaining debt written off at the end of the IVA. Your IVA will be recorded in a public register.
Your creditors can't pursue you for your debts, and will usually stop contacting you shortly after your IVA is approved. Your credit rating will be affected.
If you’re a homeowner, you will usually be able to keep your home, provided you maintain the mortgage payments. If there’s equity in your home then you will need to try to re-mortgage or make 12 additional payments to your IVA. You could however offer a 3rd party sum equivalent to the equity as an alternative. 

More about IVAs

 
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.

What next? How to apply for an IVA.

  1. The first step is to see whether an IVA is right for you. Either call our free helpline to talk to one of our expert debt advisors, or use Debt Remedy, our free, anonymous online advice tool.
  2. If you wish to proceed with an IVA our specialist company, StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, can help you through this process. We’ll review your finances and help you put forward the IVA proposal to your creditors.
  3. Because our IVA recommendations are realistic, 97% of proposals put forward by StepChange Voluntary Arrangements are accepted by creditors (please be aware that in rare circumstances, a lender may not approve an agreement).
  4. There are no set-up fees to be paid in advance of your IVA being agreed. You will have to pay fees once your IVA is in progress, but these will be paid as part of the monthly repayments towards your debt.

StepChange IVAs

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Use our live chat service to talk to an advisor about IVAs. Available
Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-2pm.

Why choose us?

We are the UK’s leading debt management charity with an award winning IVA company.

  • No upfront feesThe costs involved in running your IVA will be taken from your monthly payment. We do not charge for advice.
  • Expert advisorsOur expert advisors will be on hand to offer help and advice throughout your IVA.
 

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IVA guide

Read our IVA guide for immediate information on IVAs and how they can help.

Download our IVA guide

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