Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

Key facts

See our fact sheet:

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

How much debt must I owe? ​There is no minimum or maximum level of debt.

What type of debt? Priority debts such as council tax arrears and non-priority debts like credit cards. Debts being collected by a deduction from a benefit may continue to be taken.​

How long will it last? For individuals, couples and sole traders: any reasonable length of time, but usually within 10 years.

How it works

You can apply for a debt payment programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) if you can clear your debts within a reasonable period (usually within 10 years). You must find an approved money adviser to act for you.

If your application is successful and you keep up the payments, all interest and charges will be stopped from the date of your application. Your creditors will not be able to use diligence against you to enforce the debts. If you are trading as a business and you are not a sole trader, different rules apply, but you can still apply for a debt payment programme through DAS. Contact us for advice.

Advantages

  • You will get time to repay your debts over a reasonable period.
  • You will only have to make a single regular monthly payment. This is paid to an approved payment distributor who will send the money to your creditors for you.
  • The debt payment programme is normally free.
  • Joining DAS will protect you from most creditors using court action to recover their debt.
  • You can keep your mortgage arrears, secured loan arrears or your rent arrears out of the debt payment programme if you want to. An excluded debt is noted in the debt payment programme application.
  • You may be able to get a limited amount of credit during the debt payment programme.
  • After you have covered your essential spending, you can put some or all of the money you have left over into your offer. If you don't have enough money left over to make an offer, you can pay the value of an asset into the debt payment programme, if that is what you want to do.
  • DAS is flexible and, if your circumstances change, you may be able to vary your debt payment programme to make it more affordable, or even pay it off more quickly if your situation has improved.
  • If you have a sudden and short-term drop in your income of 50% or more, you may be able to arrange a payment holiday of up to six months, until your circumstances improve.
  • Interest, fees and charges are frozen from the date you apply for a debt payment programme and are written off completely when it is completed.
  • If you have made payments for 12 years and have paid 70% of your debts, you may be able to end the debt payment programme early. This is called a composition.

Disadvantages

  • You cannot apply directly. You need to find an approved money adviser to act for you.
  • A debt payment programme cannot protect you from enforcement of child support or maintenance arrears.
  • You will need to arrange to pay child support or maintenance arrears as part of your essential spending.
  • A debt payment programme through DAS is usually free but some approved money advisers may charge a fee. Contact us for advice.
  • If you own your own home, creditors may still get an ‘inhibition’ to stop you from selling your home or getting a loan secured on it.
  • A debt payment programme under a DAS will be registered on the DAS Register. But you can ask for your address to be kept off, if including it would be likely to to put a person at risk of violence or put their safety or welfare in jeopardy.
  • Your bank account may be suspended or restricted, so you may need to get a basic bank account.
  • A debt payment programme through DAS will affect your ability to get further credit.
  • Your DAS may be ended or ‘revoked’ if your income changes and you can no longer clear your debts within a reasonable period.
  • A debt payment programme will not stop a mortgage or secured lender or landlord from repossessing your home if you have mortgage or rent arrears, (although it may make it less likely for the court to grant repossession).