Individual Voluntary Arrangement 

Individual Voluntary Arrangement. Written by: John A Waller, Consultant. Reviewed: June 4th,2024.

What Is An Individual Voluntary Arrangement?

When you find yourself in a challenging debt situation, an IVA can be a lifeline. It’s a formal agreement between you and your unsecured creditors, designed to help you repay your debts over a set period.

Any debts remaining after the period remain written off.

In almost all IVAs, you make an affordable monthly payment into an IVA fund, which is then divided between your creditors over the term.

The agreement usually lasts two to five years, but it’s important to note that this can vary depending on personal circumstances. This flexibility allows you to tailor the IVA to your specific needs, giving you a sense of control over your debt management.

An IVA is not just a financial agreement, it’s a legal one. It’s legally binding and was introduced by the Government as an alternative to bankruptcy in the Insolvency Act 1986. This legal protection ensures your rights and interests are safeguarded throughout the process, giving you the confidence to move forward with IVA.

IVA fees are part of the monthly repayment. The debt repayments are included in the monthly payment.

Once you have taken debt advice (say, citizen advice), you should approach an Insolvency Practitioner to apply for an IVA.

Careful consideration is required. Dial in any future circumstances changes (e.g., Inheritance, Job Promotion, etc.).

Are you suffering from persistent debt and need IVA advice?

Considering an IVA or a debt consolidation loan? While both options have their merits, an IVA offers unique benefits that might make it the right choice for you.

How will I know if my position qualifies for an IVA, and do I have to pay upfront for debt advice?

Then, read on for explanations of the above questions and many more.

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Individual Voluntary Arrangement and The Individual Insolvency Register IIR

Applicable to individuals in the UK.

The IIR is a combination of individual insolvency, bankruptcy and debt relief registers. The Insolvency Service maintains the  register for viewing in the public domain.

The Individual Insolvency Register includes:

  • Bankruptcies 
  • Debt relief orders 
  • IVAs and Fast-Track voluntary arrangements (FTVAs),
  • Existing bankruptcy restrictions orders or undertakings (BROs/BRUs) and interim bankruptcy restrictions orders (iBROs)
  • Existing debt relief restrictions orders or undertakings (DRROs/DRRUs) and interim debt relief restrictions orders (iDRROs).

Contacting an IP About An Individual Voluntary Arrangement

The Insolvency Service provides a directory of Licensed Insolvency Practitioners, including those at HBG Advisory who are authorised to manage an IVA.

Preparing for your appointment with the Insolvency Practitioner is however, important.

Companies charging fees up-front

Please stay clear of companies who are not regulated and offer to contact an IP once you have paid them a fee.

  • HBG Advisory does not charge an up-front fee. 
  • We fully disclose our terms and conditions for clarity and openness.

However, our policy on our fees remains fully disclosed under IVA charges.

The IP’s at HBG Advisory, are Licensed Insolvency Practitioners with the Insolvency Practitioners Association, fully insured and covered by bonds.

 Joint Individual Voluntary Arrangements

  • Couples can set up two IVAs administered as one, once accepted by creditors.
  • Joint debts included in both arrangements.
  • Allows the household to make one affordable payment to all creditors through the IVAs.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement Or Bankruptcy

What is an IVA

The formal agreement between you and your unsecured creditors to repay your debts over an agreed time.

Any debts remaining after the period remain written off.

In almost all IVA’s, you would make an affordable monthly payment into an IVA fund. Then it is divided between your creditors over the term.

The agreement usually lasts between two and five years, but does vary depending upon personal circumstances.

An IVA is legally binding and was introduced by the Government, as part of the Insolvency Act 1986, as an alternative to bankruptcy.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement fees are included in the monthly repayment as are debt repayment.

IVA or Bankruptcy?

Some consider IVAs the best option for an adverse financial situation. An Individual Voluntary Arrangement remains legally binding with your creditors, and the outstanding debt may be cleared within 5-6 years. However, fees are higher than in bankruptcy. Assets, though, can be kept, and a payment structure is made that suits your situation. An IVA, however, can be strict and must be maintained.  Failure therefore, then risks bankruptcy. Many professions are affected by forms of insolvency. Ensure you check your contract of employment before considering entering an IVA.  Other options exist, which are not public, like Debt Relief Orders (DRO).

However, think carefully before considering an Individual Voluntary Arrangement.

How Does An IVA Affect You?

An IVA affects future income or assets that you receive during the IVA period. For example, if you sell your home in an IVA. The money you receive as equity may require paying into the IVA. Further, increases in your income need reporting to the IP.

Note: An IVA will therefore, affect your credit reference.

IVA Loans

Understanding Credit Limits in an IVA

  • In most IVAs, you can apply for credit up to £500.
  • You need permission from the Insolvency Practitioner (IP) to take a new credit of more than £500.

Who Can Enter An Individual Voluntary Arrangement 

Any adult in England and Wales who is insolvent may apply for an IVA to their creditors for approval.

IVA’s For Employed and Self-Employed – Do differences exist?

IVA’s for employed and self-employed are similar.

Seasonality – Freelancers often experience seasonal trends that affect their income and how their business is utilised. So when setting out an IVA for a self-employed person, this must be taken into account.

Acquiring credit for your business. – An employed person in an IVA needs permission from their insolvency practitioner to raise any form of credit over £500. If self-employed, the person issuing the credit facility will be allowed to request a credit account without a fixed limit. However, the creditors require the agreement.

Omitting creditors relating to everyday trade. – Creditors who continually supply a self-employed person often push for payment beyond the IVA approval. So, by allowing certain creditors, exclusion from the IVA may cause problems later. Careful consideration required by the Licensed Insolvency Practitioner, as this however, allows a trading creditor a Trojan horse to charge interest and even potential legal action outside the legally binding IVA.

Can you set up a limited company while in an IVA?


Any individual in an IVA can establish a new limited company. However, if you are bankrupt, you may not do so.

Those in an IVA may take the office of a company director or hold shares of the company. Deciding to start a new company while in an IVA may put pressure on your IVA. So therefore, think carefully before progressing, and take independent advice.

How Does An IVA Affect Your Credit Rating?

Once in an Individual Voluntary Arrangement, you may experience difficulty accessing short term credit. However, you may obtain credit for personal household goods and services.

If you own your own business, you may access credit for business goods and services. However, higher interest charges may apply. So take care not to increase your debt.

Being in an IVA is recorded in The Insolvency Register.

How Much Does An IVA COST?

Entering an IVA means you agree to repay an affordable amount into an IVA fund held by the supervisor of the arrangement. Repayment reflects ability once finished, examining your income and expenditure to calculate your affordability. You then agree with your creditors on this.

Therefore, remember that with an IVA, you only pay your agreed contribution. However, no additional payments to your existing unsecured creditors, as they are part of the arrangement.

The total sum paid to your existing unsecured creditors would come from the arrangement fund. Once the final payment is released, a certificate is then issued. This states you are discharged from the IVA scheme.

Fees are from the agreed contributions. Therefore, the unsecured creditors must approve these fees before being drawn.

How Long Does An IVA Last?

An IVA can last for any period that creditors agree. However, this is usually six months to five years, depending upon personal circumstances.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) – Which debts can you pay off with an IVA?

Included in an IVA:-

  • Tax & National Insurance Contributions;
  • Hire purchase debts;
  • Bank overdrafts;
  • Catalogue debts[
  • Council Tax arrears;
  • Any form of legal personal loans;
  • Mortgage shortfalls (See below);
  • Unsecured card debt: Credit cards, Store Cards;
  • Various unsecured debt other than above.

Those you can’t pay off using an IVA?

  • Student loans;
  • Magistrate fines.- Speeding fines;
  • Court Fines;
  • Car finance secured;
  • Child maintenance or Child Support arrears;
  • Secured Loans.

Mortgage and rent arrears

You are allowed to include mortgage arrears, rent arrears, and other loans secured against your residence in an IVA.

However, creditors need to agree, and this may not happen.

Council Tax Debts?

Once in an IVA, your council tax remains included in the monthly IVA payment.

Payday Loans?

Taking out a payday loan while you are in an IVA may risk your IVA. You should first contact the Insolvency Practitioner.

If managing your IVA is a problem, paying the debt you owe money since your IVA?

County court Judgements CCJ

For further details on CCJs, please read County Court Judgements (CCJs).

Can I set up an IVA myself?


How Do I Set Up An IVA Then?

We have a standard questionnaire that one of our trained insolvency advisors can help you complete. We also prepare several authorisation letters for you to sign. On their completion, the proposal setting out your intentions is ready. Once you have agreed to its content, we would send it to your unsecured creditors for their consideration. They would then vote on the IVA proposal.

If your creditors agree, one of our Licensed Insolvency Practitioners would be appointed supervisor of the IVA. Once accepted, the IVA becomes a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors.

What Are the Advantages Of An IVA over Bankruptcy?

  • IVAs do not have the same stigma as bankruptcy, so less impact on your reputation.
  • Bankruptcy advertised.
  • An IVA is a private agreement between you and your creditors.
  • You are more likely to lose your assets in bankruptcy than in an IVA.
  • Some employment contracts that do not allow an individual to become bankrupt may deem an IVA acceptable.
  • Bankruptcy procedures tend to incur higher costs than those involved in an IVA.

The main disadvantages of an IVA?

  • Your credit rating affected. The IVA remains on your credit report for six years.
  • Equity in your home released.
  • Control over monthly living expenses.
  • Failure to pay affects the security of IVA.
  • Creditors may refuse the proposal.

Statements and Notices

Complying with the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Any creditors will send you annual statements, along with any arrears and default notices. This takes place even when you commence your IVA, but ceases once you have exited your IVA as agreed.

However, this does not in any way expose problems with you IVA. Your appointed Insolvency Practitioner must deal with any demands.

Can I Propose an IVA, If A Bankruptcy Petition Issued Against Me?

You may apply for an interim order. Once granted, it prevents further court proceedings against you.

Therefore, enabling the proposal of the IVA, which, if accepted by creditors, would prevent any court action already commenced against you from proceeding. However, if a bankruptcy order is issued, an IVA may still be proposed to your unsecured creditors in conjunction with the trustee in bankruptcy.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) – Lump-sum IVA. What is it?

An IVA usually is spread over 60 months to ease the burden and affordability.

However, having a lump sum available allows you to agree an IVA lasting shorter.

An IVA remains a legally binding agreement between you (The Debtor) and your creditors.

A lump sum IVA retains the same benefits and risks as a sole IVA.

Will I have to sell my house if I set up an IVA Arrangement?

You may need to sell your property. However, you could also release some equity instead. Typically, agreed with creditors before approving the proposal.

May I Continue To Operate My Business, If I Enter Into An IVA?


You remain in control of your business, while you adhere to the terms of the IVA agreement.

Does An IVA Negatively impact My Credit Rating?

A note placed on your credit file, alerting companies to your IVA agreement. You may find it difficult to obtain credit.

What Happens If I Miss Any Payments Into The IVA?

If you miss your agreed payment into the IVA, your IVA supervisor will contact you to discuss the position. Your IVA proposal usually states that if two or more payments have defaulted, the supervisor needs to petition for your bankruptcy.

However, the situation requires discussion with you before any action, to determine if an alternative solution exists, like a revised payment plan. Your creditors must agree with any alterations.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) – Will My Creditors Agree To An IVA?

An IVA approval requires that at least 75% of your creditors vote for voting value. We therefore work with you to ensure that any IVA arrangement you propose is a proposal that we believe will need acceptance by your creditors.

Can I cancel an IVA?

To cancel your IVA, you require your insolvency practitioner, and your creditors agree.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) – When does an IVA complete? What Happens?


The supervisor of your IVA issues you with a ‘Certificate of Completion’, within one month of the final payment.

An IVA, however, shows on your credit file for six years, commencing the date you started your IVA. Therefore, you need to restore your credit rating.

Debt Management Plans

What is a Debt Management Plan?

A debt management plan DMP. An agreement between you and your creditors to control and pay your debts. They will help reduce your monthly payments and consolidate this into one affordable amount.

DMP can consolidate outstanding, unsecured debts to help control your finances. A DMP is not a legally binding debt solution. It leaves no footprint on public registers. Therefore, nobody knows.

Administration orders

An administration order deals with personal debt when you receive a county court or high court judgement, and you are unable to pay the debt in full.

For an Administration order to exist, the outstanding debt must be no more than £5,000.

You remain required to pay one payment a month to your local court. The court then divides the sum received among your creditors.

Creditors listed on the administration order are therefore unable to take further action against you without the authority of the issuing court.

Debt Relief Orders

Debt Relief Orders (DROs) deal with your unpaid debts when owing less than £20,000. Further requirements are: You do not have little extra income, and do not own your home.

If your debt relief order is approved:

  • Your creditors may not recover money owed to them by you without the court’s permission.
  • Typically, released from your debts after twelve months

Get a Debt Relief Order

You arrange a DRO, you are required to approach the official receiver. You though do not approach them as you go via an authorised debt adviser.


The fee is £90.

If you are unable to make this payment, contact a debt charity for support with the payment.


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

  • Your debt is below £20,000.
  • £50 or less a month spare income
  • Less than £1,000 assets
  • Not worked or lived abroad in the last three years.
  • Not applied for a DRO in the previous six years.


You need to adhere to restrictions.


  • Borrow over £500 without advising the lender of your DRO
  • Remain as a company director
  • Start and operate a new company without the court’s authority.

To open a new bank account, you must advise a financial institution of your DRO.

Restrictions last 12 months. If you act dishonestly, the period may extend.

What you need to know

When in a DRO, you are required to pay:

  • Rent and utility bills
  • Student loans, court fines

DROs may cancel due to:-

  • A material change improving your finances.
  • Failure to cooperate with the official receiver.

If you grow your debt after the DRO. Then you face:-

  • a bankruptcy order
  • Prosecution failing to disclose your position.

Note: Once your DRO is approved. Then it is added to the Bankruptcy Insolvency Register. – However, note: removed three months after DRO finishes.

Your DRO remains on your report for six years, potentially affecting your credit score.


Trust Deed

A trust deed: A legally binding arrangement dealing with unsecured debts only. Examples: credit cards and personal loans. It does however not cover your mortgage or hire-purchase agreements. A trust deed requires a licensed insolvency practitioner to set up it. Once appointed, the practitioner assumes the role of trustee dealing with your creditors.

Alternative ways to deal with your debt

Alternative ways to deal with your debt exist.

A debt-management plan allows you to enter an informal arrangement with your creditors and pay any excess income to a debt management company. They then negotiate a lessened repayment to your creditors.

However, applying for bankruptcy may offer a suitable solution for you. A bankruptcy provides a court order, ceasing liability for most debts. Though, it may involve the sale of assets to pay creditors. Bankruptcy will also impact your remain self-employed until discharged from bankruptcy.

All solutions demonstrate advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, you should carefully assess them before finalising your way forward. Do not jump out of the frying pan into the fire.

So, therefore, choose an insolvency practitioner you trust.

Who then will I deal with at HBG Advisory?

Sandra, a qualified Insolvency Practitioner IP, has helped individuals back on their feet for many years. An excellent listener and will gently guide you through a stressful time. Sandra remains a director of the practice, and her team is pleased to assist you in a less stressful life.

Click on “The Team at HBG Advisory to view Sandra. Please feel free to contact us to ask any questions.

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