You can include pet expenses in an IVA living expenses budget. However there are some limits you need to be aware of.
Included in this article:
- The amount of pet expenses allowed in an IVA
- What level of expenditure is too high?
- Options if you need to spend more on your pets
The amount of pet expenses allowed in an IVA
Keeping pets at home is normal and has become even more popular since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. You can therefore include a reasonable allowance to pay for family pets in your IVA living expenses budget.
But, when you start to think about it, they can be surprisingly expensive. So if you have any type of animals at home, you should make sure you include sufficient funds in your budget to cover them.
There are many different types of pets and the cost of keeping them varies significantly. However, as a rule of thumb, a budget of at least £75-£80/month would be required for a medium sized dog. This would include food: £40/month, general vets bills: £10/month and pet insurance: £25/month. Clearly the budget would increase if you have more than one animal.
On top of these expenses, you may also have other costs including a dog walking service and grooming. Including an allowance to cover these things is acceptable as long as you have a good reason. For example if your income is based on a job where you leave home early in the morning and don’t return until late.
You need to include more than just the cost of pet food in your IVA living expenses budget. Also consider things like insurance and vets bills.
What level of pet expenses is considered too high?
Creditors will allow you to include pet expenses that are reasonable in your IVA. The question is (as always), how much is reasonable?
The answer to this very much depends on the type and number of pets you have. In addition, you need to take into account your personal circumstances. Including a £200 budget to cover the cost of 3 dogs may be justifiable for one person but not another.
Ultimately you have to try to see the situation from your creditors point of view. You are asking them to accept reduced monthly payments and probably to write off some of your debt. In return they need to be convinced that you are making your best effort to repay as much as you possibly can into the Arrangement.
If the amount you are offering to pay each month is less than the amount you have allowed to keep your pets, your creditors might be unhappy with this. They can’t make you give up your pets. However they could refuse to accept your IVA unless you increase your monthly payment to an amount they feel is reasonable.
Creditors often have an issue with larger animals which don’t live at home. A good example is horses which can be particularly expensive to keep. Trying to get an IVA accepted if you also want to pay for expensive pets is difficult.
Options if you need to spend more on your pets
You might be advised that your level of pet expenses will be unacceptable to your creditors and will have to be reduced. Given you are unwilling to reduce the number of pets you have (and their associated costs), what are your options?
First, have a look at the rest of your budget. Can you make savings in other areas so you can increase your IVA payment offer and still pay for your pets? But if you are thinking about doing this, be careful.
Remember, a monthly payment IVA will normally last 5-6 years. It will not be possible to sustain this if you are trying to live on a very tight budget so that you can feed your dogs.
Second, can you get get help? Do you have a family member or friend who is willing to assist you with funding your pets? This could be indirectly. For example, by helping you in other arears such as supporting your housekeeping budget. Such assistance would then allow you to spend more on your animals.
Third, if neither of the above options is possible, you should consider using a different debt solution. One to think about is a debt management plan. This is a more flexible option than an IVA. Your creditors are not agreeing to write off debt on your behalf and so are likely to agree to higher pet expenses.
Want more information about whether the amount you spend on your pets will be OK for an IVA. Give us a call (0800 011 4712) or complete the form below. The advice is free and confidential.