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An individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors that helps you pay off your debts at an affordable rate. You make payments managed by an insolvency practitioner.
If you have an IVA and stick to the agreement, you’ll get protection from your creditors taking further action against you and some of your debt will be written off.
IVAs aren’t available if you live in Scotland. In Scotland, you would need a protected trust deed. This is a similar solution, but it’s important to note that it has different benefits, risks and fees associated with it.
If you’re considering an IVA, it’s important to get free and impartial debt advice first. StepChange is an approved organisation to manage IVAs.
No matter who arranges your IVA there are associated costs and fees. Our IVA costs and fees follow industry standards and, at StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, there are no up-front fees, and we won’t charge you for debt advice.
An IVA is an insolvency solution that can affect your financial situation in many ways. Your credit rating will be affected for six years, from the date the arrangement is agreed. During this time your IVA will also be recorded on the Individual Insolvency Register in England and Wales, or the Register of IVAs in Northern Ireland.
You’ll have to keep to a budget agreed with your provider, and if you miss any payments, your IVA can be extended to cover the arrears.
It’s unlikely you’ll be made to sell your home, but you might be required to release equity from it by remortgaging.
Find out more about how an IVA can affect you.
Your creditors may also add certain conditions, or modifications, to your IVA being approved. Modifications are changes your creditors ask be made to your IVA proposal. If you needed time to think about the modifications, the meeting of creditors can be adjourned for up to 14 days.
If you agree to the modifications, your IVA will be approved on the day of the meeting of creditors.
A meeting of creditors will be arranged where your creditors will decide whether or not to approve your IVA. It’s your creditors’ decision whether or not they approve your IVA and we can’t force them to approve it. However, as long as your IVA proposal contains your best offer, most creditors will look favourably on your proposal.
For your IVA to be approved, the creditors who you owe 75% of your debt to - and who vote at the meeting of creditors - need to vote in favour of your IVA proposal.
If an IVA is the best solution for you, our IVA service, StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, will support you throughout the process.
Our expert debt advice can tell you if an IVA is suitable for you.
Clare Lindley and James O'Carroll of StepChange Voluntary Arrangements are licensed to act as insolvency practitioners in the UK by the Insolvency Practitioners Association.
"They were so kind, they listened patiently and helped me through the process" Alison, Kent