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Can you choose how long an IVA lasts?
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Can you choose how long an IVA lasts?

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) typically lasts five years (60 months), which for most people, is enough to clear their debts, but that’s not set in stone.

Extending your IVA and give you some additional breathing space, but can you choose how long an IVA lasts? Let’s find out.

How long does an IVA last?

Most standard IVAs last five years (60 months), but there’s no set length included in the Insolvency Act 1986.

The Act specifies that IVAs can last anywhere from 3 months to seven years.

In most cases, the majority of IVAs last for five years. Your insolvency practitioner sets the length of your IVA.

The length of your IVA depends on a range of factors, including your personal circumstances, the debts covered in the IVA, and your ability to repay.

In some cases, your IVA can be shortened if you’re able to pay the debt off sooner by making a lump sum (often called a full and final payment). You may have received a windfall through inheritance that you may want to use to shorten your IVA, for example. While your creditors can’t demand money to pay your debts, you can voluntarily make a full and final settlement to end your IVA should you choose to, shortening the length of your IVA.

If you’re unable to repay the debt by making regular monthly payments, you can request that your IVA is extended by an additional 12 months. In some cases, it can be extended further.

We explore why you may choose to do this and how you can begin the process below.

How can I extend my IVA?

An individual voluntary arrangement is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors. It isn’t something you can change yourself. Instead, you will need to make a formal request to your insolvency practitioner to change your debt management plan.

If you make a formal request, your insolvency practitioner will need to discuss your request with you and your creditors.

Why might my IVA be extended?

If you cannot make a payment, your IVA will have a payment break option, which gives you the breathing space you need. If you’re struggling, you may be able to alter the repayment period if your insolvency practitioner agrees.

Insolvency practitioners understand the financial pressures people face and can help people manage their money most effectively.

An individual voluntary arrangement is a legally binding commitment to help you become debt-free. There must be strong reasons why you are requesting an extension, such as a change in your financial circumstances that will see a modification to your agreement.

Some reasons to extend an individual voluntary arrangement include:

  • A fall in income (as a result of losing your job, for example)
  • Cash flow problems caused by moving to a new job
  • Issues with external payments (child support repayments, for example)
  • An increase in living expenses (an increase in rent or a new child)
  • You are a homeowner unable to release equity from your property to repay an IVA
  • Your remortgage, and repayments to your mortgage company are higher
  • You have additional monies that should have been included in the original IVA

Will my IVA be extended if I miss a payment?

If you miss any monthly payments to your IVA, they will be added on at the end of the repayment period. You will continue to make monthly payments until the entire debt is repaid.

As a result, if the original term of your IVA was five years, it will take longer to repay.

If you miss over three IVA payments, your insolvency practitioner may issue a Notice of Breach. If this happens, you’ll be given up to a month to bring your payments up to date. However, if you continue to miss payments or ignore a Notice of Breach, your IVA may be at risk.

Can an IVA last longer than 6 years?

As we’ve explained when answering the question of how long does an IVA last, there’s no reason why an IVA should be limited to five years. However, most clients want to clear their debts and enjoy the financial security of repaying their debts as soon as possible.

Can an IVA last longer than 7 years?

While technically possible, it’s extremely unlikely that your IVA will be extended beyond seven years. In some cases, IVAs have been repaid over more extended periods (up to ten years), but this is rare.