Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)
Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)
What is a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)?
A Debt Arrangement Scheme is a legal debt management scheme available to Scottish residents and overseen by the Scottish Government.
The scheme allows you to apply for a debt payment programme (DPP), which helps you pay your debts at an affordable rate.
If you enter a DAS, you’ll also be protected from any legal action from creditors and will not have to have any direct contact with your creditors. Assets like your car and home will also be protected as long as you keep up with your payments.
This solution is a great way for people to get some breathing space to focus on repaying the money owed without the stress of being chased by creditors.
It also offers a fresh financial start as all debts included in a DAS are repaid in full once the scheme is completed.
How long does a Debt Arrangement Scheme last?
There is no fixed term for a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS). Your arrangement scheme will last as long as it takes for you to pay back your debts to creditors.
A major advantage of a DAS when compared to other debts solutions is that setting up a debt payment plan allows you to repay your debt over a reasonable period of time. What ‘reasonable’ means depends largely on your circumstances – you will never be pressured by creditors to repay more quickly.
The repayment term will vary depending on how much debt you’re in and how much you can afford to pay. All interest, fees, penalties or charges on your debts are frozen during a DAS and are then waived once you have completed the scheme.
What kinds of debt can be included in a DAS?
Debt Arrangement Schemes generally involve unsecured debts such as:
- Council tax arrears
- Payday or bank loans
- Utility bills
- Credit/store cards
Mortgage arrears can be included, but only in certain circumstances, while secured debts like hire purchase agreements aren’t suitable to be included in the arrangement.
How does a Debt Arrangement Scheme work?
Step 1: Approaching a money adviser
The first step is to contact a DAS-approved Money Adviser to discuss your circumstances. They will have a confidential discussion with you about your financial circumstances, work through your income and expenditure, and calculate the disposable income that will be used to make a monthly payment to your creditors.
You can use our debt assistant to check if this a DAS is the right solution for you. It will show you the different potential minimum monthly payment required for each debt solution offered at Carrington Dean.
The results shown are only indicative. Contact details will be requested to discuss your circumstances and conduct a full income and expenditure to help provide the best advice possible.
Step 2: Setting up a Debt Payment Programme
Should you decide that a DAS is the best debt solution for your circumstances, the money adviser will then make an application for a debt payment programme (DPP) on your behalf, as individuals cannot apply for this solution on their own.
A proposal is then sent to your creditors for consideration and approval, and they are given 21 days to respond. If they do not respond, it is then presumed that they have consented.
If one or more creditors object, the DPP will then be considered by the DAS Administrator (The Accountant in Bankruptcy). If the AIB deems that the application is ‘fair and reasonable’, they can legally force your creditors to comply with it.
Step 3: Keeping up with monthly payments
Once approved, the arrangement will be recorded on the DAS register and all you need to do is make one affordable monthly payment to an approved Payments Distributor.
All interest, fees, penalties or charges on your debts are frozen until you have completed the debt payment programme (DPP). Creditors will no longer be able to take any recovery or legal action against you at this stage.
Under new regulations introduced in November 2019, you will not be charged any fees for the setup or maintenance of your DAS.
Can I pay off my Debt Arrangement Scheme early?
Because there is no fixed term for a Debt Arrangement Scheme, there are other debt solutions that may allow you to clear your debts more quickly. That’s not to say you can’t end your DAS early.
If during your DAS your receive a windfall payment – an unforeseen cash injection, such as an inheritance – it’s possible to pay it towards the scheme. As long as the lump sum clears your balance, your DAS administrator will end your Debt Payment Programme and you will be free to leave the arrangement early.
How long does a DAS stay on your credit file?
Like most debt management solutions, your credit rating may be affected by using a Debt Arrangement Scheme, and payments towards the scheme will leave a credit footprint.
Your DAS will remain on your credit report for a period of six years from the beginning of the scheme, meaning lenders will be able to access the details of your debt repayment. This may make it difficult to access credit until the scheme is wiped from your credit history.
Advantages of a Debt Arrangement Scheme
- Creditors cannot take legal action against you once your DAS is approved
- It is dealt with by a money advisor on your behalf, relieving you of the stress of dealing with your creditors.
- All interest, fees, penalties, or charges on your debts are frozen from the date you apply and are written off when it has been completed.
- Assets such as your home or your car will not be affected as long as you keep up with payments.
- Sole traders may be able to include business debts in a DAS.
- Payments are based on what you can reasonably afford within your circumstances.
- If your circumstances change during the DAS, it may be possible to vary your payment amount, and/or apply for a payment holiday for up to 6 months.
Disadvantages of a Debt Arrangement Scheme
- The debt payment programme (DPP) will last until your debts are repaid in full, there is no fixed time period.
- You cannot apply for a DAS on your own – you must consult an approved Money Adviser.
- It can affect your credit rating and may affect your ability to obtain credit in the future.
- It is only available to Scottish residents
Why choose Carrington Dean for a DAS?
At Carrington Dean, we’re here to guide you to a fresh financial start.
With extensive experience in the field and government-approved advisers, we’re strongly positioned to help you make the right choice when it comes to debt.
We’re Scotland’s largest independent debt solutions company, and we’ve successfully helped over 20,000 people resolve their financial difficulties and get some breathing space from debt.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are a Scottish resident with unsecured debt, you will be eligible for a DAS. However, you must seek advice from a qualified money adviser who will advise if this is the best solution for your situation.
If your DAS is approved, it will be recorded on the DAS register. This is available to the public and is used by credit reference agencies, alongside other insolvency registers, to add information to your credit report. This in turn will affect your credit score.
As such, your DAS is likely to have a negative impact on your credit score, however, you will be able to build this back up once your arrangement has been completed.
Your payments will be calculated based on what you can afford to pay after you have paid all your essential expenditure.
Thanks to new regulations, introduced in November 2019, you will not be charged for the set-up and management of the DAS.
Generally, you can include all unsecured debts in a DAS. This includes credit cards, loans, store cards and overdrafts.
Secured debts, such as mortgages and hire purchase agreements, including car finance, cannot be included in a DAS. Student loans and certain loans also cannot be included.
Unfortunately, if you are in a protected trust deed, are bankrupt, or are subject to a bankruptcy order, you won’t be able to apply.
This depends on your circumstances. Please contact us on 0141 221 2323 for further information and advice.
If your circumstances change in any way and you are struggling to make your monthly payments to your DAS, it is important to contact your money advisor. They can assess your situation and make the decision to apply to the DAS administrator for a payment holiday or a variation to reduce your payment amount depending on the severity of your situation.
As long as your missed payment is due to a payment holiday, subject to certain conditions, creditors are still prevented from taking legal action against you.
Generally, mortgage arrears are not included in your Debt Arrangement Scheme due to being a secured debt. However, in certain circumstances, they can be included, so it’s best to contact one of our money advisers for more information and advice.
You are legally bound by your DAS and are required to make the agreed monthly payment. You can elect to increase your payment amount, but if these are a regular occurrence, you may have to apply to vary the agreement.