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Debt Respite Scheme (‘Breathing Space’)


The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 came into force on 4th May 2021.


These regulations apply to creditors (including landlords) pursuing a debtor (including tenants) for payment in England and Wales. The regulations allow a debtor to put a ‘hold’ on a ‘qualifying debt’ owed by them for a period of time which is known as a ‘breathing space’ moratorium. Qualifying debt includes any amount which a debtor is liable to pay under or in relation to an order or warrant of possession of the debtor’s place of residence or business.

Breathing Space (Moratorium):

A tenant may apply to a Financial Conduct Authority authorised debt advisor or local authority for a ‘breathing space’ moratorium from a debt owed. Ongoing payments such as rent must continue to be made during the ‘breathing space’ moratorium. There are two types of ‘breathing space’ a standard ‘breathing space’ and a mental health crisis ‘breathing space.’

Standard ‘breathing space’

The debt advisor must consider whether the tenant is unable, or unlikely to be able, to repay some or all of the debt as it falls due and whether a ‘breathing space’ moratorium would be appropriate. When considering whether a ‘breathing space’ is appropriate the debt advice provider must consider whether:

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