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The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) will give someone in problem debt, the right to legal protection from their creditors.

There are two forms of breathing space arrangements: the standard breathing space and the mental health crisis breathing space.

The standard breathing space is an arrangement for 60 days. Any rent arrears covered under the breathing space arrangement are for the 60 days. An individual can only go into an arrangement, once every 12 months. The mental health crisis breathing space can be entered into as many times as needed.

Once protected a landlord cannot:

  • Chase the individual for the rent arrears
  • Contact the individual for the rent arrears
  • Serve any notice on the individual referencing the arrears (this includes a section 8 for rents arrears)
  • Charge interest

If your tenants are jointly and severally liable and one of the tenants is protected by a breathing space arrangement, you cannot chase either of the tenants – an arrangement protects all jointly and severally liable tenants.

You may chase any arrears that are not covered by the arrangement – for example - if the arrangement today covered £500.00 arrears but tomorrow the rent was due, you can talk to them in respect of this amount, serve notices, charge interest and so forth.

The do’s and don’ts above apply to both the standard breathing space and the mental health crisis breathing space, however, the timescale for the mental health crisis is the length of the treatment plus 30 days.

A standard breathing space arrangement can only be entered into once every 12 months.

A mental health crisis breathing space arrangement can be entered into it as many times as necessary.

The tenant cannot simply inform you they have entered a breathing space arrangement; the notification must be received from the insolvency service.

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