What Is An IVA?

Struggling with debts and unsure how to manage them? An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) might be the solution you're looking for. It's a formal agreement between you and your creditors, designed to help you pay back what you can afford over a set period of time.

However, not all IVAs follow the same protocol, and not all Insolvency Practitioners (IPs) use the IVA protocol. It's crucial to understand the specifics of your IVA proposal, especially if you're a homeowner. There's often an equity clause in the proposal, which could have significant implications for your property.

Remember, an IVA is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It's important to seek advice from a free and independent debt advice organisation to ensure it's the right option for you. Your IP can then guide you through the process, helping you to prepare your IVA and send it to your creditors.

What is an IVA?

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a solution you might consider when dealing with your debts. It is a formal agreement that you strike with your creditors, significantly helping those facing financial difficulties. The key detail to understand about IVA is that it allows you to pay off what you can afford over an agreed period.

Let us delve into the specifics. Not all Insolvency Practitioners (IPs) use the IVA protocol and therefore, each IVA can differ significantly. Make sure to inquire about the IVA protocol before agreeing to an IVA proposal with your IP.

In some instances, your IP may tell you that your case isn't straightforward, and you cannot have an IVA that follows the protocol. In such scenarios, the first step may be to gain clarity on why this is the case. If you're unsure, it's always smart to contact a free, independent debt advice organisation for help.

Especially for homeowners, it's crucial to fathom how an IVA affects your home before signing any paperwork. Your IP may want to include an 'equity clause' in your IVA proposal. This clause signifies that during the IVA, typically in year five, you would be expected to apply for a secured loan or remortgage to repay some of the debt. If you're unable to do this, your IP might propose selling your home. However, if your IVA adheres to the IVA protocol, there tends to be some protection.

The bottom line, seek advice from a competent entity like an IVA helpline to ensure the IVA is suitable for you. If deemed suitable, an authorised IP can aid you in preparing your IVA and sending it to your creditors. Of course, the start of this process involves you providing proper documentation to your IP. So, have these documents ready and arranged to kick-start the process.

From familiarising oneself with what an IVA is, to knowing its advantages and drawbacks, understanding an IVA's operation, and knowing when to apply for one, contributes to a comprehensive understanding of this potential debt solution.

How does an IVA work?

Thinking of what is an IVA? Let's break it down for you. An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a structured plan negotiated through an authorised insolvency practitioner or IP and is designed for handling your debts. It emphasizes paying all or a part of what you owe to your creditors. The funds are regularly paid to an IP who will then distribute the amount amongst your creditors.

But keep in mind, the thresholds matter here. Generally, unsecured debts should be at least £15,000. And while there's no fixed cap on the repayments, it's crucial that they should be satisfactory to your creditors. And when all that's been repaid as agreed, that's when your IVA comes to an end.

Setting up an IVA involves a strategic step-by-step process. Initially, you'll need the help of an Insolvency Practitioner, a specialist who will handle the deed of setting up and managing your IVA. That's where most debt relief companies step in with their own in-house IPs, relieving you from the pressure of having to find one yourself. Next up, your IP will collaborate with you to draft an IVA proposal. This will summarise your income, essential monthly expenses, and workout a feasible monthly contribution.

Remember, the majority of your creditors need to agree with the terms of your proposal for it to be approved. Once it's accepted, you are bound by a lawful agreement to manage your debts. After the approval, all that remains is for you to fulfil your monthly payments.

The dynamics of an IVA for a self-employed individual align with that of an employed person. Your IP will devise an agreement reflecting manageable monthly payments tailored to you.

If you find any of this complex, you can always reach out to experts through an IVA Helpline. They can guide you through the whole process. However, it's vital to get your documents in order prior to contacting them.

Understanding the IVA protocol

Before diving headfirst into an IVA, it's essential to comprehend the IVA protocol. While not all authorised insolvency practitioners (IPs) abide by the IVA protocol, those who do can provide specific assurances, which might make this debt solution more viable for you.

A pivotal part of your IVA agreement could be a special provision known as an equity clause. Designed predominantly for homeowners, this clause necessitates that in the fifth year of your IVA, you'll be expected to release equity from your home, usually through a secured loan or remortgage. Consequently, the raised funds can help repay a portion of your debt.

Bear in mind - an IVA may not always follow the protocol. If this is the case, approach the matter with caution and ensure you grasp why it's so. Don't hesitate to contact the IVA Helpline or an advice agency if you're unsure about any aspect of your agreement. Don't walk alone on this journey; your support network can help demystify these convolutions.

Understanding all of the debt solutions at your disposal before opting for an IVA is critical - it may not be your only option. Revisit the Alternative Solutions section for more in-depth education on this topic.

If you decide an IVA is the right solution for managing your debt, you'll require assistance from an IP. Notably, some IPs mandate certain agreements for all IVAs they handle.

  • Your proposed IVA will follow the IVA protocol

  • You are not required to pay upfront fees or make any payments before your creditors have accepted your IVA proposal

  • You can seek further independent advice from your support network whenever you wish

  • Your IP should keep you fully informed about your IVA procedure and ensure that you fully comprehend the implications of such an agreement

A creditor meeting is typically put together by your IP. The creditors will go over your proposal and decide whether the terms are agreeable. Sometimes creditors might only agree to your proposal if specific adjustments are made. Be prepared for this potential flexibility and take it into stride. Make sure you understand the consequences of an IVA agreement before signing on the dotted line. This decision should be made carefully, bearing in mind your unique circumstances, as an IVA can have lasting financial implications.

Implications for homeowners

While describing the Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), it's crucial to highlight the specific implications for homeowners. Navigating this debt solution process can seem overwhelming, but understanding the possible circumstances can enable you to prepare well.

Your home could likely be considered an asset in the IVA computation. However, rest assured that selling your property is rarely the course of action. It's more common that an equity clause is included in your IVA agreement, and this might necessitate releasing a portion of the value of your home into your IVA arrangement. Bear in mind the value of your property can affect the terms of your IVA agreement and possibly the length of repayment.

Moreover, creditors might request modifications** to your agreement, which could alter the terms and conditions attached to your property. These alterations might have implications on your monthly repayments or your property's capital to increase the repayable amount. An extensive discussion with your IP (Insolvency Practitioner) is crucial to fully understand these modifications.

Unexpected financial growth, such as a lottery win or inheritance, during your IVA tenure is also likely to impact your agreement. Generally, it's mandated that you inform your IP about such windfalls, and a portion of it may be required to be paid towards your debts. The treatment of windfalls is outlined in the terms of your IVA, so ensure to grasp this aspect comprehensively.

Remember to review all available options for managing debts before committing to an IVA. There's the IVA Helpline available ready to answer your queries. Practical knowledge of how the IVA affects your property can help in making an informed decision. The importance of having an open line of communication with your IP is paramount, not just initially, but throughout the entire duration of the IVA. This ensures that you're aware of any significant changes, and you can adapt as necessary.

Seeking advice on IVAs

So, you're considering an Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) as a solution for your debts. That's a significant step to take and you're in the right direction asking yourself - what is an IVA, and how does it work? Before making any decisions, it's crucial to note that your situation is unique and seeking advice on IVAs is a helpful measure.

An IVA is a formal debt solution, designed for individuals who are insolvent - unable to pay off their debts in full. Even though this is beneficial, it's important to note that not all creditors might accept your proposal for an IVA. Therefore, securing expert advice is paramount to help you navigate through potential bumps in the road.

Another important aspect about using an IVA is that only debts included in the agreement will be written off, leaving you liable for any remaining payments. Additionally, the details of your IVA will be made public, affecting your privacy for the agreement's duration. These are some potential drawbacks that need to be assessed while considering an IVA.

If you're a homeowner, there's a catch as well, there may be a need to release equity from your home or potentially remortgage, which might be paired with high interest rates. This can also affect your monthly budget since an IVA will naturally lead to a stricter spending policy.

Once you enter an IVA, you'll need the discipline to stick with it, or risk receiving a notice of breach if you miss payments. You'll then need to provide an explanation and promptly arrange to cover the missed amounts.

With these potential hurdles in mind, it's crucial to utilize resources available. One such resource for you can be an IVA Helpline. A helpline can provide insights, answer queries and streamline the process for you. Keep in mind, you must have your financial documents in order before reaching out.

Remember, getting advice isn't a sign of weakness. It's an essential part of sound financial management and can aid in making informed decisions. Therefore, with a big decision like opting for an IVA, turning to professional advice can make a world of difference. So, engage the right assistance at the right time for your successful financial journey.

Key Takeaways

  • An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a formal agreement between you and your creditors that helps manage your debts based on what you can afford to pay.

  • Not all IVAs follow the same protocol, and not all Insolvency Practitioners (IPs) use the IVA protocol. Hence, understanding your IVA proposal is crucial, particularly for homeowners as it often entails an 'equity clause'.

  • A homeowner must be aware of how an IVA affects their property before signing a proposal. The equity clause in an IVA could imply the homeowner repaying some of the debt by applying for a secured loan, remortgaging, or in some instances, selling the property.

  • It is important to seek professional and independent advice before agreeing to an IVA to ensure it is suitable for your financial situation. Your IP should guide you comprehensively through the process, including the preparation and submission of your IVA proposal.

  • The operation of an IVA involves a step-by-step process which includes drafting your IVA proposal with the help of an IP, and having your proposal accepted by the majority of your creditors(in terms of debt value).

  • The repercussions of an IVA can be far-reaching and long-lasting. Thus, understanding the significance of IVA agreements and implications, particularly for homeowners, is important before making a decision.

  • It's vital to consider all debt solutions available to you before opting for an IVA, as it may not be the most suitable or only option for your unique circumstances.


Navigating your financial journey can be a daunting task, especially when debt management comes into play. An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) can be a lifeline, offering a structured way to handle your debts. But remember, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each situation is unique and requires careful consideration. You should understand all the implications, including the potential impact on homeowners and the public nature of the agreement. Don't rush into an IVA without seeking expert advice. Use resources like an IVA Helpline to get the guidance you need. Keep your financial documents in order and maintain open communication with your insolvency practitioner. Remember, managing your finances effectively is a journey, not a destination. And with the right help at the right time, you can successfully navigate any challenges that come your way.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)?

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement, or IVA, is a structured debt repayment plan brokered through an authorised insolvency practitioner (IP). It is designed to help manage debts by agreeing to pay either all or a portion of the amount owed to creditors.

Can a self-employed person apply for an IVA?

Yes, self-employed individuals can also use an IVA. The agreement can be customised to fit individual circumstances, allowing the flexibility required for self-employed people.

What is the role of an insolvency practitioner in an IVA?

The IP is integral in setting up an IVA. They help draft the proposal which summarises your income, expenses, and a feasible monthly contribution. Moreover, the IP keeps you informed and maintains active communication throughout the process.

What are the possible implications for homeowners going into an IVA?

There can be additional considerations for homeowners, such as releasing equity from their home or remortgaging. The details depend on the inclusion of an equity clause in the IVA agreement and the potential effect of unforeseen financial growth.

What is the minimum debt for setting up an IVA?

The minimum unsecured debt threshold for setting up an IVA is typically £15,000. However, the debtor must also ensure the proposed repayments are agreeable for the creditors.

Where can I seek assistance on IVA?

If the process of setting up an IVA appears complex and daunting, it's advisable to contact the IVA Helpline. It's important, though, to have all the necessary financial documents ready before reaching out.

What are potential drawbacks of an IVA?

An IVA might not be suitable for everyone. Some of the potential drawbacks include only certain debts being written off and the agreement details being public. It's recommended to seek advice on IVAs, and weigh all pros and cons considering individual circumstances.