Minister Announces Bill On House Repossession

Author:Mr John Breslin, Nollaig Murphy, Callaghan Kennedy and Alan O'Sullivan
Profession:Maples and Calder

The Minister for Justice announced on Tuesday (29 May 2018) that a new bill will be drafted to provide further protections for mortgagors facing repossession proceedings. It will be based on a private member's bill which was published last year but has not substantially progressed (the Keeping People in their Homes Bill). The new bill will apply to repossession proceedings against a mortgagor to whom a personal insolvency arrangement ("PIA") under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 (the "PIA Act 2012") is not available (namely where it has not been possible to put a PIA together, or where a PIA collapses). It will supplement other measures such as the limited legal aid scheme for defaulting mortgagors ("Abhaile") and the PIA Act 2012, in particular the court's power to overrule a secured creditor's veto of a PIA.

The bill will provide that in a repossession action the court must have regard to the following:

The proportionality of a repossession order in all the circumstances; The circumstances of all of the residents of the property; Details of the parties' prior negotiations to explore the possibility of the mortgagor remaining in the residence; and The amount paid by the mortgagee for the loan by reference to the amount outstanding under the mortgage (where the mortgagee from an original lender has purchased the loan/mortgage). Although the new bill is a scaled-back version of the earlier private member's bill which had many more controversial features, it will nonetheless have very far-reaching implications for mortgagees, loan purchasers and intending bidders for loans. These include the following:

The requirement to disclose the purchase price for the loan may entail revealing highly sensitive commercial information to the court, and may be difficult to comply with where the vendor has a contractual right to confidentiality, and where the pricing is made by reference to the...

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