Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) guidance

Service access and guidance for creditors and money advisers about Breathing Space

Applies to England and Wales



In this guidance, you can:

  • access the Breathing Space service
  • find out more information about Breathing Space
  • find out how to report technical issues

This guidance is for you if:

  • you are a creditor
  • you are a money adviser
  • a debt someone owes you is in Breathing Space
  • you are offering debt advice and are thinking of offering Breathing Space as an option
  • you need advice about Breathing Space

In response to the cost of living crisis, the government is offering help for households.

Check what cost of living support you could be eligible for.

Published 24 December 2020
Last updated 9 June 2023 + show all updates
  1. Guidance for money advisors (attachment) has been updated based on recent court judgement for case Kaye v Lees [2023] EWHC 152 (KB). Changes made are mostly in the following sections: Introduction, 4.7, 7.18 and 7.21

  2. Added details and a link to help signpost the government's Help for Households campaign, in response to the cost of living crisis.

  3. Creditor guidance: 2.3 added emphasis that debtors must live or usually reside in England or Wales. 2.6, 3.1 and 3.3 further guidance about additional debts. 2.7 clarification around fraud. 3.12 controlled goods agreements, clarifying when goods can be taken. 3.16 clarification around debtor entering new debt solution before their breathing space ends. 3.18 grounds for requesting a review. 3.21 further guidance around applying to court to cancel a breathing space. Money adviser guidance. 4.4 clarification around ensuring client's name is listed appropriately. 4.9 added emphasis that debtors must live or usually reside in England or Wales.4.11 clarification around fraud. 4.13 requirement to comply with the law. 5.2 provision of vehicle registration number if it relates to the debtor's vehicle. 7.18 clarification around creditor request for a review. 7.19 further guidance around applying to court to cancel a breathing space. 7.20 additional details around if a client has entered into a debt solution. 7.21 clarification on timeframes following information requests.

  4. Amended summary to include user access to service.

  5. Service issues resolved.

  6. Message added to say breathing space service is currently down

  7. Debt adviser guidance: Added HM Courts & Tribunals Service guidance links, 4.13: Added information about other actions creditors might take and how to support debtors. Creditor guidance: Added HM Courts & Tribunals Service guidance links, 3.1: Added extra guidance on the need to take a reasonable search and act in a way that respects a breathing space, 3.9: Added an additional reason a creditor might need to contact a debtor during breathing space. 3.10: Circumstances where creditors should not contact money advisers. 3.16: Clarification debtors cannot ask for a breathing space to be withdrawn once they have submitted an application.

  8. Breathing space service access link added to creditor guidance

  9. Money Adviser guidance: Breathing Space access button added

  10. Money adviser guidance: IT address for technical issues added

  11. Added clarification on Universal Credit and DWP email addresses to 3.4 and 3.5 in creditor guidance and 7.10 and 7.11 in money adviser guidance.

  12. Creditor guidance: Extra advice on 2.1 applying for a breathing space, 3.4 stopping enforcement action and 3.12 receiving payments during a breathing space. Money adviser's guidance: Extra advice on 4.3 What you need to do before starting a mental health crisis breathing space, 4.10 Qualifying debt, 4.12 Request not to disclose address, 7.3 Your client’s additional responsibilities during a standard breathing space and 7.8 Additional debts or creditors identified after the breathing space starts

  13. First published.