Debt Relief Orders

Debt Relief Orders (DROs) are one way to deal with your debts if you:

  • owe less than £30,000
  • do not have much spare income - usually less than £75 per month
  • do not own your home

If you have a DRO, you:

  • stop making payments towards your debts (including interest) for 12 months
  • need to follow certain rules (‘restrictions’) during that time
  • will not need to pay the debts or follow restrictions after 12 months

A DRO can be cancelled if your financial circumstances change. It can be extended if you do not follow the restrictions.

You will still have to pay:

  • your rent and bills
  • certain debts not included in the DRO, such as student loans or court fines


There are restrictions on what you can do while you have a DRO.

You cannot:

  • borrow more than £500 without telling the lender about your DRO
  • act as the director of a company
  • create, manage or promote a company without the court’s permission
  • manage a business without telling those you do business with about your DRO
  • open a bank account without telling the bank or building society about your DRO

You may be prosecuted if you break any of these restrictions while you have a DRO.


You’re generally eligible if you meet all of these criteria:

  • you owe less than £30,000
  • you’ve less than £75 a month spare income
  • you’ve less than £2,000 worth of assets
  • you do not own a vehicle worth £2,000 or more
  • you’ve lived or worked in England and Wales within the last 3 years
  • you have not applied for a DRO within the last 6 years

Get a Debt Relief Order

Contact an approved debt adviser to apply for a DRO. You cannot apply for a DRO on your own.

You’ll need to pay a one-off fee of £90 before you submit your application. A charity may be able to help you with the cost - ask your debt adviser.

MoneyHelper has information about where to get free debt advice.


Your DRO will:

  • be added to the Individual Insolvency Register - it’s removed 3 months after the DRO ends
  • stay on your credit record for 6 years - this is the same as other debt relief options