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Options for Paying Off Your Debt: Debt Relief Orders

Debt Relief Orders (scrutineers) are a way to pay off debts if you owe less than £ 30,000, don’t have a lot of income, and don’t own your home.

If you get one:

  • your creditors cannot get their money back without court authorization
  • you are usually released (“released”) from your debts after 12 months

Get a debt relief order

You get a Scrutineer from the official receiver, a bankruptcy court officer, but you must apply through a licensed debt counselor. They will help you fill out the paperwork.

There is a list of organizations that can help you find a licensed debt counselor in the scrutineers.


The costs of the official receiver are £ 90. Your debt counselor can tell you how and when to pay it off. In some cases, a charity may be able to help you with the cost – ask your debt counselor.


You are generally eligible if you meet all of these criteria:

  • you owe less than £ 30,000
  • you have less than £ 75 per month of side income
  • you have less than £ 2,000 in assets
  • you do not own a vehicle worth £ 2,000 or more
  • you have lived or worked in England and Wales for the past 3 years
  • you did not ask to Scrutineer in the last 6 years


You have to follow rules called “restrictions” if you get a Scrutineer.

This means that you cannot:

  • borrow more than £ 500 without notifying the lender of your Scrutineer
  • act as director of a company
  • create, manage or promote a business without court authorization
  • run a business without talking about your Scrutineer

If you want to open a bank account, you may also need to inform the bank or mortgage company of your Scrutineer.

The restrictions generally last 12 months. They can be extended if reckless or dishonest behavior caused your debt problem. For example, you lied to get credit.

The official receiver will tell you if they need to be extended. To extend them, you will be asked to accept a “Debt Relief Restriction Commitment”. The court can issue a “debt relief order” if you don’t agree.

What would you like to know

While you have a Scrutineer you still have to pay:

  • your rent and bills
  • certain debts, for example student loans, court fines

scrutineers can be canceled if:

  • your finances are improving
  • you do not cooperate with the official receiver – for example you do not give him the information he asks for

If you incur new debt after your Scrutineer is approved, you can:

  • get a bankruptcy order
  • be sued if you do not inform the new creditors of your Scrutineer

Your Scrutineer is added to the personal insolvency register – it is deleted 3 months after the Scrutineer ends.

Your Scrutineer will remain on your credit report for 6 years.

Tags : debt relief

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