Housing Bill initiated by local Minister receives Government approval

A Housing Bill originally initiated by Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran when a backbench TD has received full approval from his political colleagues at Cabinet level.

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Charlie Flanagan, sought and received Government approval for the drafting of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform (Amendment ) Bill at a sitting in Dáil Éireann on Tuesday.

Initiated by Minister of State Boxer Moran as a Private Members’ Bill in 2017, its main purpose is to broaden the matters a court must take into account when deciding whether to grant a lender a possession order in respect of a principal private residence.

Minister of State Moran has welcomed the news and noted that the Bill’s significance will be reflected in Irish Courts for decades to come.

“This piece of legislation is highly significant and will undoubtedly assist those in arrears facing repossession and who are genuinely making efforts to keep a roof over their heads,” Deputy Moran commented.

Main provisions of Bill

The Bill provides that the court must take into account a number of matter when considering the making or refusal of a possession order.

Whether the making of the order would be proportionate in all the circumstances of the case; the circumstances of the borrower and his or her dependents (if any ); whether the lender has made a statement to the borrower of the terms on which it would be prepared to settle the matter in such a way that the borrower and his or her dependents could remain in their principal private residence; details of any proposal put forward by or on behalf of the borrower; the response, if any, of the lender to the borrower’s proposal to remain in the principal private residence; the conduct of the parties in any attempt to find a resolution to the borrower’s mortgage arrears difficulties.

This means that the court may take account of a lender’s refusal or reluctance to engage in attempts to find a resolution of the arrears issue, and also of a borrower’s refusal to engage in meaningful engagement with the lender in order to find such a resolution.

The Bill also provides that the court may have regard to certain additional matters when considering whether the making of an order for possession would be proportionate including, the amount of debt outstanding on the mortgage concerned; the amount of arrears outstanding on the mortgage concerned; the advised market value of the principal private residence at the date on which the proceedings were commenced.

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