When you are having difficulty paying your debts and can't enter into voluntary repayment agreements with your creditors, you can apply for a government debt settlement scheme. You apply through the enforcement officer.
A debt settlement scheme is an agreement between you and your creditors. The agreement may be voluntary or compulsory. A compulsory agreement means the court has decided that you must have a debt settlement scheme.
The objective of the debt scheme is for you to gain control over your financial situation.
The enforcement officer will set up a budget that you are to follow during the period of your debt settlement. The enforcement officer uses information you provide about your financial situation to set up a budget for you.
In the budget, the enforcement officer sets aside money for reasonable housing costs and cost of living for you and your household. The enforcement officer will follow the regulations on subsistence rates. If your income is higher than your expenses, you will pay the surplus amount to your creditors.
It will be listed in the Norwegian Register of Mortgaged Movable Property that you have a public debt settlement scheme. This will work in the same way as a regular payment default note.
The settlement scheme normally lasts for 5 years. As a rule, you cannot have more than one debt settlement scheme.
Your obligations are listed in the agreement with the creditors. You can also read about the obligations in the Debt Settlement Act.
The enforcement officer will review the proposed agreement with you. The enforcement officer will also inform you about what you must follow up during the period of the debt settlement scheme.
You should keep the following in mind when you have a debt settlement scheme:
- Do you have a surplus in your financial budget? If so, it is important that you pay this to your creditors. You are responsible for making the deposit payment for the surplus.
- Do you have surplus because of, for example, an inheritance or capital gains? Pay the surplus to your creditors.
- You need to inform your creditors if your financial status changes.
- You must follow the budget in the debt settlement scheme. Contact the enforcement officer if you have unforeseen expenses. The enforcement officer will help you make a proposal to change the debt settlement scheme if there is a reason for doing so.
- You must submit information about your earnings to your creditors each year. This is how creditors can monitor whether you are paying as you should.
The Debt Settlement Act is primarily for private individuals. If you are in business, you can get a debt settlement scheme only if the debt associated with your business amounts to a small part (approximately 10%) of your total debt.
You cannot negotiate debt if you are under bankruptcy proceedings. The debt negotiations case will be closed if bankruptcy proceedings have begun. However, if you already have a debt settlement scheme in force, it will not be terminated.
- If you have a guarantor or a co-debtor, they are still responsible for what is left of the claim when you have finished the debt settlement scheme.
- Guarantors or co-debtors cannot require you to pay them back afterwards.
- Guarantors or co-debtors must be notified when debt negotiations begin. They will also receive a copy of the proposal for a debt settlement agreement.
The creditors must annul all claims once you have met the terms of the agreement and satisfied the debt settlement.
Inform the creditors if you receive inheritance, gains and the like in sizeable amounts within two years after the debt settlement scheme has ended. The creditors may require you to pay them all or part of the amount.