Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is an option to consider if you’re struggling with multiple debts. It’s a government-backed initiative that allows you to repay your debts in a manageable way. Below are some key features of DAS:
- Bankruptcy alternative: DAS can be a better option for some individuals; it’s not as severe as bankruptcy or sequestration.
- Debt management: It’s similar to a Debt Management Plan (DMP) in that it restructures your debt payments.
- Protected Trust Deeds: Unlike trust deeds, a DAS doesn’t require you to transfer your assets to a trustee.
- Legally binding: DAS is a formal arrangement with legal protection from creditors.
- Insolvency prevention: It helps you avoid insolvency by reducing monthly payments and extending the repayment period.
- Flexible payments: You can adjust your payments if your financial situation changes.
Remember, DAS is not the only debt solution available. Explore other options like trust deeds, insolvency, and DMPs to find the best solution for your situation.
The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) offers a practical approach for Scottish residents to handle their debts through debt payment programmes (DPP). By keeping up with repayments, you can safeguard essential assets like your car and home. This strategy accommodates individuals, sole traders, and various types of organisations, ensuring a balanced budgeting process during emergencies.
Understanding Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)
A Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is a legally recognised debt management plan designed for Scottish residents and supervised by the Scottish Government. This scheme enables you to apply for a debt payment programme (DPP) that helps you repay your debts at a manageable rate.
By participating in a DAS, you receive protection from potential legal action taken by creditors, and there’s no need for direct communication with them. Your valuable assets, such as your car and home, remain safeguarded as long as you continue making payments.
DAS provides an opportunity to focus on repaying your debts without the pressure of being pursued by creditors. Moreover, it offers a fresh financial beginning, as all debts included in the scheme are fully repaid upon completion.
How Long a Debt Arrangement Scheme Endures
A Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) has no predetermined duration. It continues until you have fully repaid your debts to creditors, which may vary based on the amount owed and your repayment capacity.
One of the primary benefits of a DAS compared to other debt solutions is the flexibility provided in setting up a debt payment plan. This enables you to repay your debts over a period that is considered reasonable based on your specific circumstances, without any undue pressure from creditors.
The length of time your DAS remains active depends on factors such as your outstanding debt and how much you can feasibly contribute towards repayments. Importantly, all interest, fees, penalties, or other charges on your debts are suspended during the DAS and subsequently waived upon its successful completion.
Understanding the DAS Register
The DAS Register is an online database open for public access, containing information about individuals in the process of applying for or already holding a debt payment plan under DAS. As the DAS Administrator, the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) is responsible for managing and maintaining the register for public viewing, as legally required.
Kinds of Debt Applicable for a DAS
Debts typically eligible for a Debt Arrangement Scheme include unsecured debts like:
- Council tax arrears
- Payday or bank loans
- Utility bills
- Credit/store cards
Mortgage arrears might be included in specific situations, but this isn’t as common.
Secured debts, such as hire purchase agreements, are generally not suitable for inclusion in the arrangement.
How a Debt Arrangement Scheme Functions
Step 1: Consulting a Financial Adviser
Initially, you must reach out to a DAS-certified financial adviser for consultation regarding your financial situation. They will confidentially discuss your financial matters, analyse your income and expenses, and determine the disposable income utilised for making monthly payments to your creditors.
Step 2: Establishing a Debt Payment Programme
If you choose to proceed with a DAS as the most suitable debt solution, the financial adviser will file an application for a Debt Payment Programme (DPP) on your behalf, as individuals cannot apply independently. This procedure usually takes about six weeks.
Subsequently, a proposal is forwarded to your creditors for evaluation and approval, allowing them three weeks to respond. If no response is received, consent is assumed.
Should any creditor object, the DPP will be assessed by the DAS Administrator (The Accountant in Bankruptcy). If they determine the application to be ‘fair and reasonable,’ they can legally compel your creditors to adhere to it.
Step 3: Maintaining Monthly Payments
Upon approval, the agreement is recorded in the DAS register, and your responsibility is to make one affordable monthly payment to an approved payment distributor.
All interests, fees, penalties, or charges on your debts are frozen until the completion of the Debt Payment Programme (DPP). At this stage, creditors cannot initiate any recovery or legal action against you.
As of November 2019, new regulations state that you will not incur any fees for setting up or maintaining your DAS.
Can I Settle My Debt Arrangement Scheme Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can finish your Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) early in certain circumstances. If you unexpectedly come into a significant amount of money, like an inheritance, you can put this lump sum payment towards your DAS. Your DAS administrator will end your Debt Payment Programme once the lump sum clears your balance, allowing you to exit the arrangement early. However, keep in mind that there’s no specific duration for a DAS, and other debt solutions might enable you to pay off your debts faster.
How Long a DAS Remains on Your Credit Record
Utilising a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) may impact your credit score, as it creates a credit footprint. Although a DAS itself won’t appear on your credit report, your lenders have the option to register a default at any point during the process. From the date of the default, your credit score will be affected for a period of six years. This could make obtaining credit challenging until the debt is removed from your credit history.
Pros & Cons of a Debt Arrangement Scheme
Pros of a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)
- Legal action cannot be taken against you once your DAS is approved
- A money advisor manages it on your behalf, easing the burden of dealing with creditors
- All interests, fees, penalties, or charges on your debts are frozen from the application date and written off upon completion
- Your home and car remain unaffected as long as payments are maintained
- Sole traders may have the option to include business debts in a DAS
- Payments are based on what you can reasonably afford given your situation
- If your circumstances change, you may be able to adjust your payment amount and/or request a payment holiday for up to 6 months
Cons of a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)
- The debt payment programme (DPP) continues until all debts are fully repaid; there’s no set duration
- You cannot apply for a DAS alone; consulting an approved Money Adviser is required
- Your credit rating can be impacted, possibly affecting your future borrowing abilities
- DAS is only available to Scottish residents
How we can help
As Scotland’s largest independent debt solutions company, they have assisted over 20,000 individuals in resolving financial challenges and achieving relief from debt. Boasting extensive experience and government-approved advisers, count on their expertise to help you make the right decision for your debt situation.