Debt Relief Order (DRO)

Debt Relief Orders were introduced to England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2009 to provide a quicker and simpler alternative to bankruptcy.

A Debt Relief Order (DRO) may be a suitable solution for you if you have negligible assets and an unsecured debt of less than £20,000. It’s a cheaper alternative to bankruptcy and is arranged through an approved intermediary.

A debt relief order (DRO) is a debt solution for people who have limited means which means people who are non-homeowners, and have less than £1,000 worth of assets, a car worth no more than £1,000, and less than £50 per month disposable income.

The fee is £90 which can be paid by instalments if necessary.

In order to be approved for a Debt Relief Order you must not have applied for a Debt Relief Order within the last 6 years and must not be currently involved in some other insolvency procedure (including; bankruptcy itself, an Individual Voluntary Arrangement, or another Debt Relief Order)

After one year you can clear all unsecured debts in the DRO, however, debts such as hire purchase agreements, fines, student loans and certain orders made under family proceedings are excluded. Any non liquidated tax liabilities are also excluded from a DRO.

Please be aware that if you are deemed dishonest about the extent of your financial difficulties, for example by hiding assets you can be subject to a Debt Relief Restrictions Order that can last to up to 15 years. This also applies if you continue to borrow knowing you have no chance of making repayments.





  • Low cost
  • After one year you will be free of all unsecured debts listed in the DRO


  • Debts need to be under £20,000
  • Your credit file will be adversely affected and you will find it difficult to obtain credit in the future
  • Your DRO will remain on public record for 15 months and on your credit record for 6 years
  • You may not obtain credit of £500 or more alone or with another person without telling a lender you are within a DRO
  • You cannot be involved in running a limited company in any way without the court’s permission

How to apply for a DRO

Currently there are only six organisations approved by the Insolvency Service to assist you.

We cannot recommend an intermediary but we can reassure you that they are all competent authorities to act on your behalf.

  • The National Association of Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB)
  • The Foundation of Credit Counselling (Consumer Credit Counselling Service)
  • Baines & Ernst Ltd
  • Institution of Money Advisers (IMA
  • Money Advice Trust trading as National Debtline
  • Totemic Ltd trading as Payplan

If you are certain that a DRO is appropriate for you and have chosen your intermediary you can, with their assistance, complete your application.

The average processing time for the DRO application to be completed is between one and two months.

Call 0330 400 0481 for a free, no-obligation discussion to decide whether a DRO may be an appropriate solution for you.
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