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Life after debt

When do you get your IVA completion certificate?

Posted 12 September 2016

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Let’s take a look at how long it will take to get your certificate after your IVA has ended.

Finishing an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) means you’ve managed to get debt free and it can feel like a huge achievement. You’ll have had to stick to a strict budget for five or more years but when you’ve finally completed the debt solution, it will be worth all of the work.

But what actually happens when you complete your IVA – how will you know it’s officially over? You will receive an IVA completion certificate but depending on your Insolvency Practitioner (IP), this may take a while to arrive. Let’s take a look at what you can expect to happen when your IVA ends and what you can do if there’s a delay to your IVA completion certificate.


Completing your IVA

Your Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) will typically last five years, but some IVAs will last longer. If you own a property, you may need to release equity from it, depending on how much equity there is in it. You’ll then pay this money into the IVA to go towards your debts. If you can’t do this, there may be an extension of up to 12 months.

Once you’ve made your last payment, your IP will get in touch with you to let you know if there’s anything else you need to pay into it. This includes if you earned any additional monies or overtime and if you claimed back PPI, this might have to go into your debt solution. Your IP will be able to let you know if this is the case. They’ll also need to review your wage slips up until the end of the IVA term to determine if you need to pay any more in.

As soon as your IP is satisfied that you’ve paid everything you need to, they’ll start the work to officially close your IVA. Your IP may have some final administration to complete like writing reports and making further payments to creditors but you don’t have to do anything at this point unless they contact you asking for information or for you to pay anything else in.

And once your IVA is completed, your IP will send you your IVA completion certificate. Depending on your IP, this could either be an actual certificate or an official letter they’ve signed.


How long you’ll have to wait

You should get your Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) completion certificate a few weeks after you’ve made your last payment. How long this takes will vary based on the IP and the complexity of the case. For example, if you’ve not paid some assets that you need to and your IP has to get in touch to tell you to do this, you won’t get your completion certificate until you’ve done this.

And if you’re still waiting for a mis-sold PPI claim, your IVA can’t complete until you’ve paid this in. It can also take a little longer if you’ve received a windfall and it needs to go into your IVA. The rules around windfalls while you’re on an IVA are a little complicated – read our blog to see if you need to pay in. But until you’ve paid in all additional monies and assets your IP tells you to, your IVA won’t complete.

A delay to your IVA completion means you’ll still on the Insolvency Register for longer and your creditors won’t update their files to say your debt solution is over. This means you can’t work to improve your credit history and you might struggle to get credit or some other services like a tenancy agreement or a mobile phone contract. You’ll stay on the Insolvency Register while your IVA is active and for three months afterwards. So the longer your IVA completion takes, the longer your details will appear on the Register.

If you’ve been waiting for a couple of months and you’ve still not got your IVA completion certificate, you should get in touch with your IP to see why there’s a delay. They’ll tell you if the delay is because you need to pay something in or provide some information and if this is the case, you should do this to get your IVA completion moving.

But if there’s no reasonable reason for the delay, you can complain to your IP. And if they don’t give you a satisfactory answer or they don’t reply, you can escalate this complaint through your IP’s regulatory body. You can find out how to do this on the Government website.


After your debt solution

Once you’ve got your Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) completion certificate, your debt solution is over, and you can start to work towards getting your credit history back on track. If you’re looking for some ways to do this, check out our blog on life after a debt solution.

Just because you’ve had debt problems in the past, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to stay away from borrowing money for the rest of your life – but it might make you keener to build up your savings. However, it’s a good idea to start improving your credit history before you do this and to make sure you’re able to manage your household budget. If you do decide you’re ready to take on credit again, have a read of our blog on borrowing after a debt solution.

by Emily Bancroft

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.