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What is an IVA?

IVA is the short form term used to describe an Individual Voluntary Arrangement.

IVAs were introduced into English Law as part of The Insolvency Act 1986 – – covering England, Wales and N. Ireland but specifically excluding Scotland which has its own form of IVA legislation (See Protected Trust Deeds). The IVA legislation was enacted to provide formal help to consumers (and certain classes of self employed) with overwhelming debt problems. Prior to the enactment of The Insolvency Act many consumer debtors experiencing significant debt problems and pressure from creditors would usually have had no option but to seek the protection of the Court by petitioning for bankruptcy.
The government were becoming increasingly concerned that bankruptcy was not only the most drastic step a debtor could take, but was also actually highly counterproductive. Bankruptcy is usually a "lose – lose" situation for all parties concerned as :-

  • The consumer debtor risks losing all major assets including the family home
  • The unsecured creditors usually get little or no return at all on the debts
  • There was historically both a social and future employability stigma associated with bankruptcy providing future earnings impact for the bankrupt.

The IVA alternative has been called both "second chance legislation" and "government rescue legislation". Under the legislation the debtor can propose an IVA to his/her creditors to restructure overwhelming debts where the only other alternative is usually bankruptcy.

The basic elements of the IVA are :-

  • All unsecured debts are consolidated into one new IVA contract.
  • One single IVA monthly payment only is made between all creditors.
  • The new IVA contract usually only lasts for 60 months.
  • At the end of the IVA all remaining debt is written off by creditors.
  • All interest and charges automatically stop.
  • Creditors must stop any legal action providing the IVA payments are made.
  • Windfalls or a property value increase may need to be paid into the IVA.

IVAs have become very popular in recent years because individuals are finding themselves with ever higher levels of unsecured credit – usually as a result of increased credit card spending – and even though struggling to keep up repayments they do not wish to go bankrupt.

What is an IVA? - Impartial IVA and Debt Solutions Advice

For more information about individual voluntary arrangements and alternative debt solutions contact us today. Call our helpline free on 0800 043 50 43 or complete our enquiry form.

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