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Can your debt relief order be stopped?

This advice applies to England

In certain situations a debt relief order (DRO) can be stopped (revoked). If this happens to you, you'll have to find another way to deal with the debts you owe.

This page explains when a DRO can be stopped and what you can do about it.

What is the DRO period?

The DRO period is the twelve months from the date when the debt relief order (DRO) is made by the official receiver. During this time you can't make payments towards most types of debts listed in the DRO and you're subject to certain other restrictions. This period may also be called the moratorium.

When can a DRO be stopped?

Situations where a DRO might be stopped include where you:

  • acquire property over the value of £1,000
  • have an increase in your income, meaning you have more than £50 left over each month after all your household expenses are paid - although if this happens towards the end of your DRO, it may be extended to let you come to an arrangement with your creditors
  • left out key information about your debts, assets or income in your application
  • didn't tell the official receiver about a change in your circumstances
  • you didn't meet the criteria when you applied for a DRO
  • you don't co-operate with the official receiver
  • you didn't comply with the restrictions placed on you by the DRO
  • you obtained your DRO fraudulently.

In some cases, the official receiver may also apply for a debt relief restrictions order (DRRO) to be made against you. This extends the period of time for which you have to follow certain rules, called restrictions. This can be instead of or in addition to revoking your DRO.

What happens if your DRO is stopped?

If your DRO is stopped, you and the creditors listed in the DRO will receive a notice explaining:

  • why the official receiver wants to revoke the order
  • the date from which the DRO may be revoked
  • how you can challenge this.

If you don't challenge the plans to revoke your DRO, it may be stopped and your creditors will be able to start taking action against you again to recover what they're owed. This can include any interest and charges that have built up since you applied for the DRO. You'll need to find a way of dealing with these debts. Therefore, it's important you respond to any letter or notice you receive that says your DRO might be revoked.

Top tip

Giving false information about your finances or hiding anything you should include in a DRO application, is a criminal offence.

Not only can your DRO be stopped, but it may lead to a debt relief restrictions order and you could even be fined or go to prison.

Challenging the decision to stop a DRO

If your DRO is revoked, you have the right to apply to the court to ask for the decision to be overturned. You should speak to your DRO adviser before you do this. They can help you decide whether this would be the right course of action for you.

Coronavirus – if you need a hearing urgently

At the moment, the court might take a long time to arrange a hearing.

Tell the court if you need the hearing urgently – you can tell them before or after you apply for the hearing. Email the court at rolls.icl.hearings1@justice.gov.uk – in your email, make sure you tell them:

  • what you need the hearing for
  • why the hearing’s urgent
  • who needs to be at the hearing
  • how long the hearing’s likely to take
  • how long the judge is likely to need to read through the documents before the hearing

If you don’t know all of this information, tell the court in your email.

The hearing will normally be by video call using Skype for Business. If you can’t use Skype for Business, tell the court if you can use other video call software or if you want your hearing to be over the phone.

You’ll still have to apply for the hearing when the court replies to your email.

Can your creditors ask for your DRO to be stopped?

Once a DRO is made, it is legally binding. This means your creditors can't object or ask for it to be stopped, except when they believe that one or more of the following applies to you:

  • information in the DRO is wrong or missing
  • you are already bankrupt or have made an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) proposal
  • your debts don't qualify or you don't meet the criteria
  • you have more than £50 surplus income per month
  • you acquired property over the value of £1,000 
  • the creditor believes the official receiver shouldn't have made the DRO, because you either gave away or sold assets for less than their value, or gave a creditor preferential treatment within the past two years before you applied for the DRO.

If a creditor does ask for your DRO to be stopped, the official receiver will send you details of the creditor's request and give you the chance to respond before a decision is made.

Next steps

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