A bill to provide more security to home owners in mortgage difficulties, the idea for which was originally mooted by local Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran, has received cabinet approval.
The Government this week approved the drafting of the Courts and Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2018.
New legislative provisions will require courts to have regard to a series of factors in considering an application for a possession order, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Charlie Flanagan, said on Tuesday this week.
Minister Flanagan said: “The Bill has its genesis in the Keeping People in their Homes Bill, which was introduced in the Dáil by Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, and I want to acknowledge his role in the development of this Bill. A lot of work has taken place to ensure that Minister Moran’s proposals to provide additional protections to those who may be faced with repossession proceedings, can be compatible with the Constitution. I want to thank Minister Moran for working with my officials over the last number of months.”
The Bill proposes the insertion of a new section in the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013, with the purpose of addressing a situation arising where a borrower is unable to avail of an insolvency remedy under the provisions of the 2013 Act.
The proposed section would provide that the court, when considering an application for a possession order in such a case, shall have regard to a number of factors, including: The overall proportionality of the application for a repossession order; the circumstances of those resident in the property; the details of, and responses to, any proposals put forward by either party which would enable the borrower to remain in the property, including participation in a Government scheme; where the mortgagee is not the original person that granted the loan or mortgage to the mortgagor; the amount paid for the purchase of the loan or mortgage by reference to the amount of debt outstanding in respect of the loan or mortgage.
Responding to the cabinet's decision, Minister Moran said: "The proposed Bill reflects the Government's resolve in addressing the issue of mortgage arrears and it now offers the Courts the opportunity to assess possession orders on a proportionality basis as set out in EU law. This legislation is very important to me and I am pleased that Cabinet has approved drafting today. I look forward to seeing this Bill on the statute books as a further protection for those facing repossession orders."
Minister Flanagan concluded: “The Government has consistently stated its view that repossession of family homes should be at all times the very last resort. This new legislation adds to the suite of existing Government initiatives designed to assist people in mortgage distress."