Longford-Westmeath Independent Alliance Deputy, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, introduced a Bill to the Dáil last week aimed at keeping people in their homes following the threat of repossession.
The Keeping People In Their Homes Bill 2017 provides protection to home owners facing repossession and provides clarity to Irish courts on examining the proportionality of granting or executing possession orders on people’s homes.
The Bill allows courts to consider the circumstances and impact of home loss on dependents and children in the household. This means that courts can take into consideration the whole household’s circumstances and the impact that granting, adjourning, varying, postponing, or executing an order for possession of a home would have on their lives.
The Bill has been drafted with the support of a group of concerned lawyers and housing law experts who have been working with home-owners at risk of home loss.
Eugene Deering, a law graduate of NUI Galway and a special adviser to one of the Independent Alliance Ministers, brought both drafting groups together, after extensive research on the issue and the Bill itself.
Dr Padraic Kenna, director of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway, said that the inspiration for this Bill comes from European consumer, human rights, and family law.
“It seeks to humanise possession proceedings so that people and families who have no money, who have no choice, who have nowhere to go and who are facing the dire prospect of losing their family home, can be protected and supported,” Dr McKenna said.
“Essentially, it means that when there is a choice between several appropriate measures to achieve the objectives legitimately pursued by legislation, then the court must adopt the least onerous one, and the disadvantages caused must not be disproportionate to the aims pursued.”
Introducing the Bill to the Dáil, Deputy Moran said: “There is currently no legislation specifically aimed at providing a framework of evidence to be considered by the Courts. In a great many cases, there is no detailed consideration of the debtor or of his or her individual circumstances as is required by EU law.
“This has led to a situation whereby there are no measures that exist for the Courts to examine, on its own merits, the essential fairness or unfairness of a repossession order. This Bill addresses this gap in the law.”