We aim to make our website as accessible as possible. However if you use a screen reader and require debt advice you may find it easier to phone us instead. Our phone number is 0 8 0 0 1 3 8 1 1 1 1. Freephone (including all mobiles).
i England, Wales and Northern Ireland

How will a DRO affect me

Debt relief order. Rules and restrictions

When your debt relief order (DRO) application is accepted, be aware that:

  • You are protected from the people you owe
    • As long as those debts are included in the DRO
  • You face certain restrictions

DROs are designed for people with:

  • Few assets, and
  • A relatively low level of debt

You do not qualify if you:

  • Are a homeowner, or
  • Have more than £50 a month left after essential living costs
dad and daughter cooking

Considering a DRO?

We can help with free, impartial debt advice online now.

Get debt help

How long does a DRO last?

A debt relief order usually lasts 12 months. This is called the ‘moratorium’.

The people you owe can still contact you to tell you what you owe.

But they cannot:

  • Take action to recover the debts in your DRO
  • Demand payments
  • Start any court action

Tell them you are on a DRO if they do any of the above.

Contact the DRO unit at the Insolvency Service if they do not stop.

The debts in your DRO are written off if:

  • You reach the end of the 12 month period successfully
  • Your situation does not improve

Keep paying your current household bills and living costs. Things like:

  • Rent
  • Council tax
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water rates

DRO restrictions

There are certain things you cannot do on a DRO. These are called restrictions.

You must not:

  • Take out credit over £500 without telling the lender you are on a DRO
  • Continue a business under another name without sharing that your last business had a DRO
  • Set up a limited company without consent from a court
  • Act as a company director without consent from a court

Debt relief restriction undertaking or order

The Insolvency Service can increase your period of restrictions.

They do this:

  •  If they think you were dishonest
  • Through either:
    • A debt relief restriction undertaking (DRRU), or
    • A debt relief restriction order (DRRO)

These extend your restrictions for up to 15 years.

What happens if my circumstances change during a DRO?

Notify the official receiver (OR) if your circumstances improve. They decide if your DRO can continue.

Find out how assets affect a debt relief order.

Will a DRO be listed on an insolvency register?

In England and Wales:

  • The Individual Insolvency Register (IIR) lists your:
    • DRO
    • Name
    • Address
  • Your details are listed for the duration of the DRO (12 months)
  • Your details are removed three months after your DRO ends

In Northern Ireland:

  • Your details are put on the public DRO Register
  • Your details are removed three months after the DRO ends
    • This happens both if the DRO is successful or revoked

Apply to keep your details off the IIR or the DRO Register if it could put you at risk.

This could be a risk of:

  • Domestic violence, or
  • Other personal harm

Your DRO is on your credit file for six years from the date it is approved.

Can a DRO affect my job?

A DRO may affect your job if your contract says you cannot be insolvent.

This is likely to be an issue in:

  • The finance sector
  • The legal sector

Other jobs can be affected too, but this is not common.

Check your employment contract if you are not sure if you can keep your job with a DRO.

You can also:

  • Speak to your professional membership body or trade union, or
  • Speak to your HR department confidentially

Find out more about how a DRO can affect you.

Can a DRO be cancelled?

The Official Receiver can cancel the DRO if they find out you lied in your application.

  • It is your responsibility to inform them of changes
  • It is an offence to give away or hide assets from the OR
  • You must co-operate with the Insolvency Service

You must start paying your debts again if your DRO is cancelled.

Get free advice about whether a DRO is right for you

We can help if you are thinking about a DRO.

Our free online debt advice tool can find the best solution for you.