What is an Administration Order (AO)?
An administration order (AO) is a legally binding agreement that’s been issued by a County court. It allows you to repay debts based on your monthly affordability.
Administration orders are available to people who have one or more County court or High court judgement against them that they’re not in a position to pay in full.
To apply for an AO, an application is made to your local County court, which will then decide whether to grant the order based on your circumstances.
If the AO is granted, your debts and relevant creditors (the people you owe the money to) will be included in the agreement.
You will make a single monthly payment towards your debts, no matter how many different parties you owe money to.
Payment is then spread between your creditors, and they won’t be able to take any further action against you for the duration of the AO, without the court’s permission.
How does an Administration Order work?
The administration order process is run by your local County court. The court will decide:
- How much debt you must repay
- The size of your monthly repayments
- The length of time it will take you to complete the payment plan
You are charged a court fee each time you make a payment towards your debts, however, this can’t be more than 10% of your total debt. So, if you owe £3,500 in total, you won’t pay more than £350 in court fees.
Under an AO, you will continue making monthly payments for as long as it takes you to pay off your debt.
At the end of this period, you will no longer owe the debts included in the AO. You can then pay £15 for a ‘certificate of satisfaction’ to prove you have settled your debt.
To do this, you must write to the court and send a cheque made payable to ‘Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service’.
If you apply for an AO and it becomes clear that you cannot pay back your debts within a realistic time-frame, a district judge may suggest, or you may ask them to consider, a ‘composition order’.
This puts a time limit on your repayment period and writes off some of the debt at the end.
Who can apply for an Administration Order?
To be eligible for an administration order you must meet the following conditions:
- Have at least one County court or high court judgment against you that you cannot pay in full.
- Have a total debt level of less than £5,000.
- Owe money to at least two companies.
- Prove you have enough spare income to afford regular repayments.
How to apply for an Administration Order
To apply for an AO, you must fill out the N92 form that can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n92-application-for-an-administration-order on the UK government website.
You can either download and print the form or collect a hard copy in person at your local County court office. Once you have followed the steps and completed the application, you should return it to your local court.
What debts can be included in an Administration Order?
Any kind of debt can be included in an administration order. This includes any mortgage or rent arrears. However, an administration order won’t prevent a landlord or mortgage lender from repossessing your home.
Some social landlords, like local housing associations, are happy for their rent arrears to be added to an administration order, but this makes it less likely that you will be able to get any of your debt written off in a composition order.
What is a Composition Order?
A composition order allows you to pay back a portion of what you owe each month, rather than a monthly payment that would eventually see you pay off your debt in full.
For example, if you owe £2,000 and can only afford to pay £12.50 per month, it would take you over 7 years to repay your debt in full.
With a composition order, you would pay what you can afford – £12.50 per month – for three years, after which the rest of your debt would normally be written off.
Will an Administration Order affect my credit score?
However, it’s important to remember that you’ve been entered onto this register through having first had a county court judgment (CCJ) or high court judgement made against you anyway, which will have already affected your credit score.
What are the advantages of an Administration Order?
- You will pay a single monthly payment that will be split amongst your creditors, rather than having to manage several payments to several creditors.
- It saves you a lot of time and effort and could reduce the stress of juggling many different debt repayments.
- The creditors listed in the order can’t take any further action against you without the court’s permission.
- At the end of your administration order, you will be free of the debts included in the agreement.
What are the disadvantages of an Administration Order?
- It’s only available for people who have at least one court judgment against them and have under £5,000 of debt.
- Falling behind on payments can lead to the court applying an ‘attachment of earnings order’, which will allow them to take money directly from your wages or cancel the arrangement.
- There are costs payable of up to 10% of your debt level.
- Even after you complete your administration order, it will remain on your credit file for a period of six years.
What happens if my circumstances change during my Administration Order?
You can ask them to review the order to lower your monthly amounts or ask for a composition order, which will write off some of your debts.
If you miss two payments in a row, the court has the right to revoke or review the administration order.
The court will notify you with a ‘notice of intention’. You must reply within 14 days, or your order will be revoked.
If your administration order is revoked, your creditors are free to contact you again and can add backdated interest or begin enforcement action against you.
Your best action in this instance is to contact your creditors as soon as possible to arrange repayment.
Where can I get debt advice and find out more about AOs?
If you are struggling with debt and looking for some advice, call us today on 02895 380906. One of our experienced debt advisers will be happy to help you find the right solution for your financial circumstances.
In this section you’ll find advice about:
We work closely with several local debt charities including adviceni.com and ruralsupport.org.uk providing training and support. Linda Wilson, our Voluntary Sector Services Manager works closely to ensure that our services are accessible to those most in need.