I just wanted to share with you my IVA story as although probably not unique, it was a little different as i applied and conducted my IVA while living in Spain.
I took early retirement nearly 3 yrs ago due to health problems and decided to take the last opportunity to move to Spain before brexit made it too expensive to do so.
We settled in a cave house in a village in inland Andalusia about 100km from the coast.
Unfortunately I had only been in Spain 6 months when I took a tumble and ultimately was left unable to walk due to damage to my already problematic discs in my lower back! This created a financial problem due to needing to urgent buy medical equipment and ongoing medical related expenses which led onto un unsustainable debt problem!
After stressing about what I was going to do about my mounting debt for some time I finally plucked up the courage to call stepchange for help! They couldn't help as they said as I had been in Spain over a year I wasn't eligible for an IVA especially in a post brexit era. Bankruptcy would be my only option! This was a thunderbolt as bankruptcy would mean losing my home here in Spain and having to return to an uncertain future in the UK!
I decided on looking for a second opinion as I had read that as long as you had a tie to the UK of less than three years then you should be eligible. I even subsequently found this information on stepchange's own website!!
I contacted Iva.org via email and received a prompt reply to arrange a telephone call. My initial conversation was very helpful and the representative double checked my eligibility and confirmed after a conversation with his supervisor that I could indeed conduct an IVA from abroad even post brexit!
I was talked through all the steps needed to arrange an IVA proposal and just before Christmas 2021 it was put into place. Basically I was to pay £7500 in £100 monthly installments for a £23500 total debt! Only my main creditor agreed to the IVA, the rest didn't respond and so the IVA was agreed by majority of voters. My IVA was to be over 6 years as my property had been excluded from the agreement because of it's value and the difficulty in dealing with getting remortgage in Spain.
Fast forward another 6 months, life was getting more difficult for me and my wife! She had been doing everything for me, the pets and the house because of my inability to walk or stand. The cave house was wholely unsuitable for a wheelchair and so I could only crawl around the downstairs of our house! Even our Kitchen is upstairs! We needed to sell and move to a more disability friendly home.
The problem was that by selling I would release my half of the capital which I would then be obligated to submit to my IVA. Thus making it impossible to buy again!
After more stressful worrying I managed to obtain the help of my brother in law. With his help a managed to propose a full and final offer of £6100 this would mean in total my creditors would receive £6800 of the £7500 I was due to payback over the course of the next 5+ years.
The offer was accepted by my creditors meeting at the end of July and should have been straight forward to finalize however, one of my creditors could no longer find any details of my account with them! This was because my debt had been sold on to a collection agency, who inturn had done the same!
Unfortunately I had disguarded long ago any correspondence I had with them and the access I had to the app had been terminated so email correspondence saved on the app was lost also!
Eventually everything was sorted and yesterday I received a email stating my completion of my IVA and also a PDF copy of my completion certificate! I don't intend to hassle to repair my credit rating or history/records in the UK as I have no intention for the foreseeable future to return and credit ratings in UK have no relationship to here in Spain!!
I did jump the gun in one aspect of this process, we put our cave house up for sale once the full and final settlement had been agreed. It was a gamble that we wouldn't complete the sale and purchase before receiving confirmation of my IVA completion! It kind of worked out as I've now completed, however, we haven't found a buyer as yet!! So if anyone fancies a cave house in rural Andalusia let me know!
Finally the takeaways from my experience are; you definitely can have an IVA even if you live abroad, well at least from the EU.
Keep all correspondence with your creditors until you are completely finished with them! Including downloading email correspondence on apps!
Keep in contact with your IVA provider, a good practitioner is there to help you as much as possible! I can't recommend IVA.org highly enough.
Lastly when dealing with figures make sure you know and agree as to the currency being used! I made a mistake of using euros while the practitioner used sterling! It made for some undervaluing of my outgoings and therefore increased my monthly payments by a small margin. But everything is significant especially when trying to deal with limited finances in times of economic instability!!
There is light at the end of the tunnel and sometimes the tunnel can be less dark than it may seem at first!! Good luck to all!!