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Can I include gas bill arrears in my IVA?

If you're in arrears on your gas bill, they can't be included in an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) if they're with your current gas supplier.

IVAs are designed to help people deal with unsecured debts - and unsecured debts include things like credit cards, store cards, personal loans and overdrafts. Secured / 'priority' debts like your mortgage and utility bills aren't included in an IVA: if you failed to repay these debts, your house could be repossessed or your gas supply cut off.

Can an IVA help with gas bill arrears?

There is an exception to the rule that bill arrears can't be included in an IVA. If your arrears are with a previous provider, you may be able to include these arrears in your IVA, so you'd pay them off by making your monthly IVA payments.

However, even if you're in arrears with your current provider, this doesn't mean that an IVA won't be able to help. An IVA can help by tailoring your monthly IVA payments to fit around your arrears payments - and other essential bills, like your mortgage, food and petrol.

Before you start an IVA, you and a qualified Insolvency Practitioner will look at your budget and work out how much you have to contribute towards your IVA every month after these essential costs have been taken into account.

So, if your IVA goes ahead, your unsecured debt repayments will be lowered to a level you can afford - that won't interfere with your essential costs.

If you want to know more about IVAs, check out our frequently asked questions by clicking here.

Can an IVA help anyone?

Though an IVA could help you with your gas bill arrears, and your unsecured debts in general, it can only help if you're eligible in the first place.

To be eligible, you have to be unable to manage your monthly unsecured debt repayments as they stand. You must also be unable to repay your unsecured debts in full in a realistic amount of time.

You must, however, be able to contribute reasonably sized payments each month. Though an IVA can reduce your payments to a level you can afford, your lenders would have to accept these new payments before your IVA can go ahead - so you'll need a reliable income that would allow you to make monthly payments for around five years.

If you'd like to talk to an expert about IVAs, click here to fill out our free callback form.

By Matthew Plant.

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Subject to eligibility and acceptance. Fees Payable. Debt write off applies to unsecured debts only and on completion of an IVA, alternative solutions may be offered. If your IVA fails, it could lead to Bankruptcy. Your ability to obtain credit will be affected for at least 6 years. Homeowners may be required to release the equity in their property.