When is the debt time-barred?

Debt is a concept that involves an unfulfilled financial liability. The liability should usually be repaid to the one specified in the civil law contract concluded by the parties.

The contract may have a more or less formal nature, but it is worth paying attention to the fact that the law regulates the “expiry date” of the debt.

It happens that time works in favor of the debtor. These provisions were regulated in order to organize social relations and prevent a situation when, after many years, someone remembers a very old situation completely detached from current reality. So how does it look in practice?


What is time limitation?

debt loan

Limitation of the debt is the period after which the debtor may evade satisfying the claim (payment of the debt). This means that if we are a debtor, after the expiry of the debt limitation period set out in the relevant provisions (in particular by the Civil Code), we may refrain from fulfilling the service required from us, ieeg by evading the need to pay a certain sum of money.

Interestingly, this does not mean that the debt ceases to exist. Therefore, no equal sign can be made between time-barred debt and debt cancellation. We can pay it back at our own free will, even after the statute of limitations.


When does the debt become time-barred?

debt credit

In July 2018, significant changes came into force, thanks to which the limitation period of debt is currently shorter than before. Article 118 of the Civil Code provides for the following limitation periods:

  • 6 years – a general term, including, for example, claims confirmed by a final court decision; and
  • 3 years for claims for periodic benefits and claims related to conducting business activities.

However, please note that we have different types of debts. Examples of debt limitation periods are:

  • fine for driving on public transport without a valid ticket – 1 year;
  • claims under the sales contract – 2 years;
  • claims under a specific work contract – 2 years from the date of delivery of the work;
  • telecommunications services – 3 years;
  • debit on the bank account – 2 years from the obligatory debit repayment date;
  • other receivables from business operations – 3 years;
  • claims under an employment contract – 3 years from the date of the final date requiring payment of remuneration;
  • liabilities under a credit or loan agreement – 3 years from the date of the final payment date;
  • debt due to rent – 3 years;
  • debt with a bailiff – in the light of current regulations, the debt determined by a final court judgment (or a final payment order issued by the court) expires after six years.

A very useful compendium of knowledge may be the Vivus debt limitation guide.


What else is worth knowing about the statute of limitations on debt?

debt limit

Of course, it is always advisable to pay the outstanding liabilities always and everywhere. This makes all situations related to our life situation undoubtedly have a stabilizing effect. Everyone must have overlooked it so if one day we get a call to pay, let’s not panic.

Let’s regulate the payment without delay before the debt collection procedure begins. However, this does not change the fact that we should know our rights, so before we make any move, make sure what this debt is, whether there are documents confirming its legitimacy and whether it is expired. It happens that human ignorance is often used.

And if we are entitled to a claim against another person, and we really want to recover the funds entrusted or due to us, let’s do everything we can to ensure that this commitment does not expire. How can we protect ourselves?

Of course, contact with the debtor is advisable, but remember that a conversation alone may not be enough if you do not have witnesses. Debt reminder correspondence (request for payment) may constitute a legal ‘backing’. Any dialogue on the part of the debtor that only confirms that the debt actually exists is an effective means of proof. It is worth remembering when being on both sides.