Amicable debt settlements
On 1 July 2023, the period applying to people repaying debts under the amicable MSNP (and statutory WSNP) settlement arrangements was reduced from 36 to 18 months. These arrangements are available to people who register for help in repaying problematic debts. They involve contacting the person’s creditors and proposing they accept an amount in final settlement. Establishing a debt settlement agreement requires all the person’s creditors (including you, if you are a creditor) to agree to the proposal. After 18 months, the debtor will be debt-free and the creditors will have received the amounts agreed.
Who can use the MSNP?
The MSNP is meant for natural persons and not for debts incurred by businesses or organisations. But ex-entrepreneurs with debts are eligible for the scheme. Under the Municipal Debt Counselling Act, the municipality is responsible for debt counselling and assistance. So people with a debt problem can also apply for these arrangements through their municipality.
How does it work?
First of all, the debt counsellor calculates the person’s fixed costs of living. The amount left over after that is the amount available for repaying debts. Agreements also have to be reached on other issues, such as not allowing any new debts to arise. All these agreements are recorded and notified to the creditors. The debt settlement agreement is established as soon as all the creditors have accepted it.
Shorter repayment period for amicable debt settlements
The shorter repayment period may mean creditors receive a lower amount on their unpaid invoices. The change in the repayment period has no impact on arrangements entered into before 1 July this year.
What does a shorter repayment period mean?
If the debtor sticks to the agreements during the 18-month period, creditors will have to write off any residual amounts owed. The debtor will then be debt-free and can leave the debt assistance scheme and start afresh with a clean slate.