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How to ask lenders for ‘breathing space’

IVAs Drive Personal Insolvencies to Seven-Year High

If you have money troubles it can feel like lenders are a constant black cloud in the back of your mind.

Constant phone calls and letters from creditors can be very stressful and detrimental for your mental health.

Some MPs have called for legal ‘breathing space’ protection for borrowers but you don’t need to wait for a law to be passed to ask lenders to lay off.

You can ask your lenders for breathing space so that they don’t contact you for a short period whilst you try and tackle your debt problems.

Most creditors will agree to stop contacting you 30 days if you can show that you are in financial difficulty and are seeking debt advice.

Asking for breathing space

Start tackling your debt in three simple steps:

  1. Contact a debt adviser like debt charity StepChange or speak to a debt counsellor or licensed insolvency practitioner at Umbrella.
  2. Contact each of your creditors to explain that you have taken debt advice and request that they give you breathing space. They will want some proof that you are taking steps to deal with your debts. You should tell the creditors what you have done so far and what your proposals are.
  3. Start tackling your debt.

Most creditors will give you at least 30 days breathing space as per industry codes of practice which they are signed up to.

Fighting more serious debt problems

If you are facing more serious money problems then 30 days of respite from creditors might seem like insufficient relief.

If you feel like you can’t breathe for final demands, threatening phone calls and bailiff visits then you should consider more serious options for escaping debt.

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) may be the right option for you.

An IVA is a legal agreement between you and your creditors that says you will only pay back what you can afford over a set period. After this period (usually 60 months) any unpaid debt will be written off.

Once an IVA is set up, creditors will no longer be able to contact you giving you an extended period of breathing space to help you get on with life positively fight debts.

To find out if an IVA is suitable for you, contact one of our debt counsellors today. Call: 0800 611 8888 or visit