How Long Does My Debt Last Before It Expires?

One question on the minds of many individuals in debt is: “How long will my debt stand?” Or “How long will it be before my debt expires?”

Whilst there is no official date or timeframe where a debt becoming invalid, there is something known as a “statute bar” which comes into effect after 6 years.

This is an initiative that is laid out in the 1980 limitations act. This is not the same thing as a debt expiration however it does prevent any legal action from being carried out against the debtor by the creditor.

Different Types Of Debt & How Long the Debt Will Last

Debts have what is known as a “statute of limitations”, if there has been no contact between yourself and the creditor or a payment made for a period of six years, the debt can be considered “statute barred” – this means the creditor is no longer able to chase you for the repayments to the debt and the creditor has run out of time to use actions against you to try to make you repay the debt.

Time Periods’ For A Debt To Become “Statute Barred”

Usually the period of time before a debt becomes’ “statute barred” is six years, after which if there has been no contact, & no payment made the creditor has limited or no authority whatsoever to continue to chase the debt. (This does not necessarily mean that the debt is written off or otherwise cancelled) these debts could still show on a credit file.


How Long Does My Debt Last Before It Expires?


What Happens To A Debt Once It Is “Statute Barred”?

A debt being “statute barred” may or may not be chased by the creditors & the debt can still be sold on to another agency. Just because a debt is “statute barred” doesn’t mean the debt disappears but it does mean the creditor can no longer sue or take the debtor to court.

Why Does A “Statute Barring” Matter?

It matters because this is the time limit that a creditor has to take a debt to court, if the debt is allowed to run over this timescale the debtor cannot be taken to court over it or receive a CCJ (county court judgement).

How Can I Tell If My Debt Has Been Statute Barred?

Generally if a debt has been allowed to run over a period of six years or more and the debtor lives in England or Wales the debt can be considered barred under the statute of limitations.


How Long Does My Debt Last Before It Expires?


If the debt has been wiped from my credit file does that mean it’s barred under the statute of limitations?

No. These are not the same thing and are independent of each other. If a debt is not showing on your credit file it may or may not be barred.

For more in depth information on how long a creditor can pursue a debt from you see this article from PayPlan.

Can I still be chased for a debt after 10 years?

You can still be chased for debt even if it is covered by the limitations act 1980, this does not affect whether or not you can be chased for the debt but does prevent you from being sued for the debt.


How Long Does My Debt Last Before It Expires?


Can Tax Debts Become Statute Barred, Such As Council Or Income Tax?

Council tax, income tax and VAT are all exempt from statute barring; they cannot become statute barred under any circumstances.

This is a limitation that is applicable to more conventional debts such as loans, credit cards and store cards.

What If I Reclaim PPI, Does This Reset The Debt Barring?

Once a debt is barred it can never become unbarred. It is safe to reclaim PPI on a barred debt without having to worry about it “resetting the clock”.

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