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Debt Respite Scheme

Debt Respite Scheme Mortgage Breathing Space

There are 2 types of Mortgage Breathing Space Assistance

  • a Standard Breathing Space and
  • a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space

Standard Mortgage Breathing Space is available to any client with problem debt. It gives them legal protections from creditor action for up to 60 days. The protections include pausing most enforcement action and contact from creditors and freezing most interest and charges on their debts.

Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space will help stop you being chased or charged fees and interest on your debts for as long as you are receiving crisis treatment, and for 30 days after your treatment ends.

A Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space is only available to someone who is receiving mental health crisis treatment and it has some stronger protections. It lasts as long as the person is receiving treatment.

Applying for Standard Breathing Space

Debtors can only access a breathing space by seeking debt advice from a Debt Adviser.

Anyone who cannot or is unlikely to be able to repay his or her debts can apply to a Debt Adviser for a Standard Breathing Space.

Although all applications must be considered the Debt Advisor might decide a breathing space is not appropriate for a debtor.

Applying for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space

If an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) certifies that a person is receiving mental health crisis treatment the AMHP’s evidence can be used by a Debt Adviser to start a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space.           

In addition to the debtor the following people can apply to a Debt Adviser on behalf of a debtor for a mental health crisis breathing space:

  • Any debtor receiving mental health crisis treatment
  • The Debtor’s Carer
  • Approved Mental Health Professionals
  • Care Co-ordinators appointed for the Debtor
  • Mental Health Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Independent Mental health Advocates or Mental Capacity Advocates appointed for the Debtor
  • A Debtor’s representative

Debtor eligibility for a Standard Breathing Space

Before a Debt Adviser can start the breathing space they must confirm their client is eligible and meets all the conditions. The debtor must -

  • Be an individual
  • Owe a qualifying debt to a creditor
  • Live or usually reside in England or Wales
  • Not have a Debt Relief Order (DRO), an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), and an Interim Order or be an undischarged bankrupt at the time they apply
  • Not already have a breathing space or have had a standard breathing space in the last 12 months at the time they apply

The Debt Adviser must also be satisfied that their client meets both of the following conditions:

  • Their client cannot or is unlikely to be able to repay all or some of their debt
  • A Breathing Space is appropriate for their client

Debtor eligibility for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space

A Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space will help stop you being chased or charged fees and interest on your debts for as long as you are receiving crisis treatment and for 30 days after your treatment ends.

A Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space is only available to a client who is receiving Mental Health Crisis Treatment. If an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) certifies a client is in Mental Health Crisis Treatment the client or someone else might ask you for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space on the client's behalf. The Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space has some stronger protections than the Standard Breathing Space. It lasts as long as the client's Mental Health Crisis treatment plus 30 days (no matter how long the crisis treatment lasts).

Debtor Eligibility for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space

The debtor must still meet the same criteria and conditions for a Standard Breathing Space but they must also be receiving Mental Health Crisis Treatment at the time that an application is made. A Debtor who has had a Standard or Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space in the last 12 months may be eligible for a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space. There is no limit to how many times a debtor can enter a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space.

How to Apply:

To apply for the Mental Health Breathing Space you’ll need to contact the following:

Step Change

Telephone: 0800 138 1111

Website: https://www.stepchange.org/

National Debtline

Telephone: 0800 111 6768

Website: https://www.nationaldebtline.org/

Citizens Advice

Telephone: 0808 278 7966

Website: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Or find further information at GOV.UK