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Debt relief order (DRO)

A guide to debt relief orders (DROs)

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

Debt relief orders (DROs) are not available if you live in Scotland. In Scotland, a minimal asset process (MAP) is a similar solution, but it’s important to note that it has different benefits, risks and fees associated with it.

DROs are usually suited to people with a fairly low amount of debt and who have few assets.

In this section you can find out about DROs, how to apply and the criteria you need to meet to be eligible for one. It’s worth reading all of the pages in this section, to understand the benefits and risks.

Find out if you're suitable for a DRO

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Frequently asked questions about DROs

Can you get a debt relief order if you work?

The DRO is designed to help people with lower incomes. Income is the money you get from your wages, benefits and pensions, among other sources.

If you have less than £50 in income left over after paying for all your household bills and living costs, and you meet all the other criteria, you can apply for a debt relief order.

Find out more about applying for a DRO.

What happens when a debt relief order finishes?

12 months after your DRO is approved all the debts included in it are written off. Your details will continue to be recorded on the public insolvency register for a further three months, and in your credit file for six years from the date the DRO was approved. What happens after a DRO?

How long does a DRO stay on your credit file?

Your debt relief order is recorded on your credit file for six years from the date your DRO was been approved. How does a DRO affect me?

Can having a debt relief order stop bailiffs?

Your creditors are still allowed to contact you if you have a DRO but they can’t demand payment or start court action against you.

If bailiffs are recovering a debt that’s been included in your DRO, they’ll stop this once your DRO is approved.

Bailiff action for criminal fines or child maintenance can continue, as these debts can’t be included in a DRO. Find out more about creditor contact on a DRO.


Video: An introduction to DROs

What is a DRO?

In this section you can find out about DROs, how to apply and the criteria you need to meet to be eligible for one. It’s worth reading all of the pages in this section, to understand the benefits and risks, what debts will be included in a DRO and the restrictions you'll face.