An Individual Voluntary Arrangement, or IVA as it is known, is a formal alternative for individuals or sole traders wishing to avoid bankruptcy. An IVA may also be available to individuals who are already subject to bankruptcy proceedings.
It is a contractual repayment proposal presented to a debtor’s creditors by an Insolvency Practitioner. Usually (but not necessarily), the IVA comprises only the claims of unsecured creditors, leaving the rights of secured creditors largely unchanged.
The arrangement lasts for a fixed term under the administration of the insolvency practitioner acting as a supervisor and a successful conclusion will result in debt settlement.
An IVA can, with creditor agreement, be flexible to accommodate an individual’s own circumstances and often combines delayed or reduced payments of debt, release of capital, release of equity in the home, surplus profits and third party contributions.
In most circumstances, once an IVA is approved creditors are unable to charge interest and penalties on the balance due to them and the debtor is protected from legal action for the recovery of the debt. This is one of the main advantages of an IVA and helps stem the overall debt owed. To decide whether the IVA goes ahead, a creditors’ meeting is called and a vote is taken. Creditors representing at least 75% of those who vote need to vote in favour of the IVA proposal for it to go ahead. Once approved by creditors the IVA binds all creditors who were entitled to vote at the meeting or would have been entitled to vote at the meeting had they had notice of it.