If you are struggling with unaffordable debt, entering into a formal debt solution, like an IVA, can help you repay what you owe at an affordable rate while putting a stop to legal action from your creditors.
When you enter into an IVA, it will be listed on a public register to give lenders a complete view of your financial and credit history when assessing applications you make for a mortgage or a loan.
What is an IVA?
In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors to repay what you owe through a series of monthly instalments. In Scotland, IVAs are known as Trust Deeds.
Your IVA will be managed by an Insolvency Practitioner (IP) who will communicate with your creditors on your behalf and split your monthly payments amongst the people or businesses you owe money to.
Most IVAs last a total of five years but your term may be extended for another 12 months if you miss a payment or have a payment break.
Your IVA will also remain on your credit report for a total of six years from the date it was approved which will lower your credit score and make it difficult to be approved for further credit.
Once you have completed your IVA, your debt will be written off which means you will no longer be legally required to pay it.
What is the IVA Register?
When you enter into a formal debt solution, such as an IVA, in England and Wales, it will be listed on a public database known as the IVA Register.
The IVA Register, which is part of the Individual Insolvency Register and maintained by the Insolvency Service, also holds information on other formal debt solutions, including current bankruptcies, Fast-Track Voluntary Arrangements and Debt Relief Orders (DROs).
The IVA Register is called the Register of Insolvencies in Scotland and the Individual Voluntary Arrangement Register in Northern Ireland.
What information is held on the IVA Register?
The IVA Register is designed to hold details of your IVA but also includes the following information:
- Your name
- Your date of birth
- Your gender
- Your last known address
- The date your IVA was approved
- The name of your Insolvency Practitioner
The amount of information recorded on the IVA Register may seem excessive but it is to prevent cases of mistaken identity, for example, if you have a common surname.
The exact information held on you also depends on which type of debt solution you are in but most entries will include the same basic details.
How long will my details stay on the IVA Register?
Once your IVA or DRO has been approved, it will be added to the IVA Register where it will stay until your arrangement is either terminated or revoked.
However, it is important to note that while your Insolvency Practitioner will request for your details to be removed when you make your final payment, it can take up to three months after your completion date for your entry to disappear.
If you are bankrupt, your details will also remain on the IVA Register for three months after you are discharged from your arrangement.
This is the moment when you are no longer responsible for repaying the debt and are free from the restrictions placed on you during your bankruptcy.
Failure to stick to the agreed terms of your arrangement or missing a payment may result in your details remaining on the register for longer.
If you’re struggling with your monthly payments, talk to your Insolvency Practitioner as soon as possible. In most cases, three missed payments within a 12-month period will result in an automatic fail.
Who checks the IVA Register?
Most people prefer to deal with financial trouble in private and it’s normal to worry about your friends, family, and colleagues finding out that you’re in debt.
However, while the IVA Register is a public register that can be accessed by anyone, it is usually only viewed by those with a valid reason to research your financial history, such as:
Lenders check the IVA Register when deciding whether to approve you for credit, such as a loan or mortgage.
Credit reference agencies have access to the IVA Register and can increase or decrease your credit score based on whether you’re in an active IVA or have recently had an IVA.
Employers might check the IVA Register to ensure an employee is legally allowed to work in a particular field.
However, this is usually only the case for occupations where being in or having been in a formal debt solution would impact the duties of the job, such as the legal and financial industries or the police.
Landlords have also been known to check the IVA Register to find out if tenants have had trouble paying rent in the past.
This can help them determine how likely you are to pay rent in full and on time.
If they discover you have had an IVA in the past, they may ask you for a bigger security deposit or an advance rent payment or request you have a guarantor in the event you miss a payment.
Can I remove my details from the IVA Register?
Every IVA that is registered in England and Wales is added to the IVA Register and it can be difficult to get your information removed.
There are some instances in which you can ask the Insolvency Service to remove your details if having them publicly available could potentially put you in danger but this is rare.
The Insolvency Service is required to keep a public record of all formal debt solutions by law and will only remove details of your IVA in extreme circumstances.