Boxer’s Housing Bill passes final stages in Oireachtas

The Land and Conveyancing Law Reform (Amendment ) Bill 2019 has formally passed all stages in Oireachtas.

Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has said he hopes the legislation will now assist those in mortgage distress who are seeking to keep their homes and are making genuine efforts to do so.

“I was very happy and honoured to see the Bill pass the final stages in the Dail tonight and the warm reception I received from all Deputies when it went through and the subsequent round of applause reflected my sincerity in trying to do something positive for those facing repossession,” Deputy Moran remarked.

It is believed to be the first time that an Independent TD has managed to guide two pieces of legislation through the Oireachtas after being initiated as private members bills. His first Bill, dealing with repeat sex offenders was signed into law earlier this summer.

“I have worked closely with the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Equality to bring this Bill before the Oireachtas and I also want to thank my Special Adviser, Eugene Deering, and Dr. Padraic KeAnna from NUIG for all their hard work in the drafting the original Bill, attending the various meetings about the Bill and ensuring that it was kept on track as it made its way through the Oireachtas.

“The principal objective of this Bill is to provide further protections for homeowners in mortgage arrears who are facing the prospect of repossession proceedings. It does so by broadening the range of matters that a court must take into account when deciding whether to grant a possession order to a lending institution in respect of a borrower’s principal private residence. For this purpose, the Bill proposes to insert a new section in the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013.

“This Bill, which has its genesis in a Private Members’ Bill I initiated prior to my appointment as Minister of State, will, I believe, prove to be an important addition to the suite of Government measures to protect those who find themselves in mortgage arrears and are facing the prospect of court proceedings for repossession of their homes.

“The repossession of a borrower’s principal private residence should be a last resort when all other possible remedies have failed. This Government remains committed to helping borrowers in mortgage arrears to remain in their homes wherever possible,” the Deputy continued.

The legislation’s main objective is to broaden the range of matters that a court must take into account when deciding whether to grant a possession order to a lending institution in respect of a borrower’s principal private residence. The court may also take this broader range of matters into account where, for whatever reason, efforts to secure a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA ) have failed or where despite the borrower’s participation in a scheme designed to enable borrowers with mortgage arrears to remain in their home, the court repossession proceedings have continued.

“The court must consider whether the making of the possession order would be proportionate in all the circumstances of the case. In providing for this matter, the legislation recognises the essential role of the court in balancing the interests of both the borrower and the lender when considering whether to make or refuse to make an order for possession.

“In future, the court must always take into account the circumstances of the borrower and any dependents.

“The legislation will provide important additional protections for borrowers by broadening the range of matters that a court must take into account when deciding whether to grant a possession order to a lender in respect of a borrower’s home. This Government’s position has been and it remains the case that repossession of a borrower’s principal private residence must always be a remedy of last resort,” Deputy Moran concluded

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