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PIA FAQ's

What is a PIA?
How long does a PIA last?
What debts can be included in a PIA?
Is there a maximum or minimum amount of debt required to have a PIA?
How long does the process of applying for a PIA take?
Do I have to actually live in Ireland to have a PIA?
What if I have dual nationality?
Will I have to sell my home?
What if I have a buy-to-let property but I’m renting at the moment?
Can I include my mortgage payment in the PIA?
What will happen to my assets if I have a PIA?
Will I lose my car?
Could I lose my job if I have a PIA?
Could a PIA stop me getting a job?
Can I have a PIA if I am self-employed?
Can I have a PIA if I am unemployed?
Do I have to deal with my creditors?
Does a PIA affect my credit rating?
What is a Personal Insolvency practitioner (PIP)?
What if I change my mind and don’t want to do the PIA anymore?
Can I keep an inheritance or lottery win?
Can I keep a credit card?

What is a PIA?
A PIA, or Personal Insolvency Arrangement, is a type of government-approved debt management solution that is legally binding and supported by law. Every month you pay your creditors one affordable payment through a third party trustee – a Personal Insolvency Practitioner – who in turn distributes that payment to your creditors. Any unsecured debt balances that remain after the PIA is complete are written off, while secured debt balances are dealt with according to the terms of the PIA agreement.

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How long does a PIA last?
The usual term of a PIA is six years, although sometimes depending on events it can be extended by a year if you have an emergency and have to take a payment break.

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What debts can be included in a PIA?
PIAs differ from other debt management solutions in that you must have both secured and unsecured debt to apply. With unsecured debts, that would mainly be loans, credit cards, store cards and overdrafts, while secured debts would include mortgage arrears, hire purchase agreements and any loans secured to a property that you can no longer afford to pay.

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Is there a maximum or minimum amount of debt required to have a PIA?
To have a PIA you must have a minimum of €20,000 of unsecured debt and no more than €3 million of secured debt.

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How long does the process of applying for a PIA take?
The process of applying for a PIA from beginning to end takes about three months. For the first couple of weeks you will work with your PIP to draw together all of your financial information so you can apply for a protective certificate to temporarily stop your creditors from taking any action against you. Once this is in place, your PIP has 70 days to draw together your application for a PIA.

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Do I have to actually live in Ireland to have a PIA?
Yes, you have to have lived in Ireland for the 12 months prior to starting the process of applying for a PIA.

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What if I have dual nationality?
Even if you have dual nationality, you must still be a resident in Ireland for 12 months prior to you starting your application for a PIA.

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Will I have to sell my home?
Once benefit of a PIA is that you will not be asked to sell your home. You may be asked to release some equity from it if this is available and if you can find a lender willing to re-mortgage. The one exception to this is if the costs of running your home greatly exceed expected costs and are far beyond your budget, in this case your PIP will look at whether it would make financial sense for you to move somewhere less expensive.

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What if I have a buy-to-let property but I’m renting at the moment?
You may not be asked to sell your Buy-to-Let unless the costs of doing so are so high it does not make financial sense to continue to pay for it. As far as your rental home in concerned, if the costs of living in it are within expected limits given your income and expense you will not be asked to move somewhere less expensive.

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Can I include my mortgage payment in the PIA?
PIAs are specifically designed to help debtors with mortgage arrears, but that does not include your normal monthly mortgage payment. Only your arrears are included in the PIA – the mortgage payment is your responsibility and must be paid from your normal monthly salary.

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What will happen to my assets if I have a PIA?
Use of your assets to help mitigate your debts are down to the discretion of your PIA. It is unlikely you will be allowed by your debtors to carry a large balance of assets while they are only getting a percentage of what they are owed.

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Will I lose my car?
PIPs have specific rules to abide by concerning cars, although they are able to use some discretionary powers within those rules. Generally, if you live and work in a city with good public transport links you may have to prove a solid financial case for keeping your car if public transport is cheaper. If however you have to travel some distance to your place of work or live rurally then you will be able to use a car. Two car households will be assessed to see if they can reduce to one car.

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Could I lose my job if I have a PIA?
The vast majority of occupations will not be affected by your decision to have a PIA. However, some occupations have employment contracts that forbid the undertaking of a PIA. These may include roles where you are responsible for other people’s money, such as accountancy and financial management, and roles that contain a high degree of public powers, such as the Garda Síochána and the Prison Service.

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Could a PIA stop me getting a job?
If you work with other people's money or in a position of public power you may find your employers require you to undertake a financial check to see if you are or have ever been made insolvent. This could mean you are considered unsuitable for the job if you have a PIA.

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Can I have a PIA if I am self-employed?
Being self-employed is no impediment to having a PIA. As long as you fulfil the eligibility requirements and have an income that could provide a surplus every month to pay to your creditors you can apply for a PIA.

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Can I have a PIA if I am unemployed?
Unfortunately you cannot have a PIA if you are unemployed. You must have a consistent source of income in the form of a salary that will leave you with enough surplus money to make your PIA payment to your PIP every month.

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Do I have to deal with my creditors?
Once your Protective Certificate is in place you will no longer have to deal with your creditors. They must go through your PIP at all times. If they ring you can simply give them your PIP’s contact details and request they speak to them.

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Does a PIA affect my credit rating?
Yes, a PIA will affect your credit rating and it is unavoidable. However, one of the criteria for having a PIA is that you are no longer able to make your payments to your creditors so your credit rating will already be affected by defaults and arrears that being recorded every day.

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What is a Personal Insolvency practitioner (PIP)?
A Personal Insolvency Practitioner is the person who sets up and administers your PIA throughout its term. They talk to your creditors, deal with any court proceedings, and run your PIA on a daily basis until you have made all the payments you have committed to and are discharged.

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What if I change my mind and don’t want to do the PIA anymore?
You have started your PIA and change your mind, the consequences can be very serious. First, if you cease making payments your PIA will be deemed to have failed. Once this happens your creditors can take action against your immediately to recover their money. The PIA holds your creditors at bay only while you are paying it.

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Can I keep an inheritance or lottery win?
You will have to declare a lottery win or inheritance to your PIP, as it will only be a matter of months before they find out during an annual review of your finances. It is up to them how much of the lump sum you get to keep, but they will almost certainly want to a good chunk to go towards paying your creditors.

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Can I keep a credit card?
Under the rules of a PIA you cannot take on any more than €650 of credit without being legally required to tell the lender. As it stands, you may find that your PIA is flagged up to any credit card provider when they do a credit check on you, so you may be turned down by them for credit as a result.

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