What do the new Debt Arrangement Scheme reforms mean for debtors and creditors?

  • John Baird -
  • 1st October 2019 -
  • 3 minutes to read

If you are experiencing financial worries and your debt simply does not seem to be going down, you may be considering entering into a formal debt solution in order to help you manage. One of the most popular schemes of this type is a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) and is only available to residents in Scotland.

A DAS is not an insolvency procedure, but instead a structured debt management plan which aims to help indebted individuals restructure their current liabilities and pay back the money they owe over an extended period of time, all the while being protected from the threat of further action being taken by creditors. Any further interest or penalty charges are frozen which stops the debt from growing and allows the individual to make inroads into clearing their outstanding balances rather than just serving the interest.

Administered through a Debt Payment Program - or DPP for short - a DAS can be the perfect solution for individuals in debt who are struggling to cope with high monthly repayments but do have the ability to pay off the money they owe, albeit it over a number of years.

Debt Arrangement Schemes were introduced in their original form in 2004, however, from 4th November 2019, a series of new regulations will come into effect which aims to streamline the DAS process and make the scheme more accessible to Scots who are struggling with mounting debts. These changes have been made as a result of the AiB’s consultation which took place last year, with the new regulations now being laid in parliament.

Known as ‘The Debt Arrangement Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2019’, the reforms will mean the following changes will apply:

  • Streamlined process - Simplifying existing decision making processes to allow a DAS, or variations to an existing DAS, to be made as quickly as possible. This includes a variety of measures including introducing deemed consent when creditors do not respond either way to a variation proposal within 21 days, as well as automatically approving applications where objecting creditors represent less than 10% of the debt value. This is hoped to lessen the administrative burden associated with setting up this type of debt solution.
  • Payment breaks - Short term emergency payment breaks will be considered to help during unexpected periods of financial crisis. The circumstances in which payment breaks may be considered have been extended to include situations where the debtor separates from a cohabiting partner regardless of their marital state.  Furthermore, any proposed payment breaks may be authorised by the appointed money adviser without having to consult creditors or seek their permission.
  • Methods of payment – The updated legislation brings more freedom when it comes to the methods through which a debtor is able to make their agreed monthly payments. Payment can now be made via “any other payment method agreed between the debtor and the payments distributor”.

If you are considering a DAS and are wondering how these changes may affect you and your ability to enter into such an arrangement, contact the experts at Scotland Debt Solutions. Our expert advisors will be able to talk you through the ins and outs of a DAS, as well as explaining alternative debt solutions which may be more suitable to your circumstances. If we feel you would be able to benefit from a DAS, we will be with you every step of the way. Contact our expert team today on 0800 063 9250 to arrange a free no-obligation consultation with a specialist debt advisor today.

John Baird
John Baird
Partner
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