Debt Relief Order (DRO)

A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is a form of insolvency designed to help people with relatively low debt, little surplus income and few valuable assets.

A DRO is similar to bankruptcy, but for people with income and assets of low value enough to be excluded from bankruptcy – so the process is less complex and cheaper.

DROs were introduced as the fees to petition for your own bankruptcy (currently £705) meant many people for whom bankruptcy was the best solution for them were unable to afford to do so.

Getting A DRO

Application for a DRO must be done via an approved intermediary. This is a person who has been granted special permission by an appropriate body to act in such matters.

To qualify for an DRO you must meet all the following criteria:-

  • Be unable to afford current repayments and charges
  • Owe no more than £20,000 in unsecured debts
    You must include ALL your debts. You can’t selectively write off part of a larger total by a DRO.
  • Have assets totalling no more than £1000 excluding a motor vehicle
    Only non-essential items that can easily be sold are taken into account. You can own a car worth up to £1,000.
  • Have a disposable income of no more than £50 per month
    This is your income minus reasonable living expenses, not counting your debt repayments, as defined using creditor accepted guidelines.
  • Have lived or worked in England or Wales within the last 3 years
  • Have not applied for a DRO within the last 6 years
  • Not subject to any other current formal insolvency procedure
    Including a bankruptcy petition that has not been dismissed – unless the person who presented the petition agrees to you entering the DRO.
  • Not currently subject to a BRO/BRU or a DRRO/DRRU

DRO Benefits

Affordable costs

The £90 fee is much less than the £680 you’d need to find to go bankrupt

Confidence of good advice

The process ensures you receive suitable advice and you fit the criteria for a DRO before proceeding.

All debts written off

A DRO lasts for 12 months after which all included debts and written off

Creditor protection

Creditors included in a DRO can’t take action against you without a very good reason and the Court’s permission.

You will remain liable to pay certain debts – in particular: Student loans, Fines, Debts arising from family proceedings, Budgeting loans and crisis loans owed to the Social Fund.

DRO Considerations

These are mainly the same as bankruptcy considerations and restrictions, plus the following:-

Not for homeowners

You cannot do a DRO if you own a property, even if it is mortgaged and you have little; no or negative equity in it.

Debt relief restrictions order (DRRO)

This can be issued if your behaviour is considered to have been reckless or deceitful; and can extend the restrictions of the DRO for 15 years.

If during the DRO your circumstances change such that you no longer qualify; for example you can afford more than £50/month towards your debts; you’re legally obligated to inform the Official Receiver. The DRO will be terminated and you’ll be back where you started – remaining liable for the debts in full.

We do not currently provide DROs but offer a free consultation to determine your suitability and will refer you accordingly.


Money Helper (formerly The Money Advice Service) is a free service set up by the Government to help people make the most of their money. If you would like to learn more click here. is not regulated and is for fact-finding only. We can help assess your circumstances and point you to someone who can provide available options that suit your debt criteria.

If an individual meets the required criteria for an IVA based on our packaged case, this will be passed to one of our partnering Insolvency Practitioners to get direct advice. If the individual does not meet the criteria for an IVA, The Insolvency practitioner is able to provide contact information for other third-party organisations that offer advice on other available debt solutions. For full details view our Privacy Policy.

If you decide that an IVA (Individual Voluntary Agreement) is not the best option for you after we have prepared the necessary information, you can opt out of the process and have all of your details removed. We receive a fee from the third party that we refer you to for introducing you and for the work we have completed. However, you will not be responsible for paying this fee. The third party will contact you directly to continue the process of your IVA application or to explore other solutions, but only with your permission after we have introduced you.