The Government has been urged to ban the repossession of tens of thousands of homes because Irish courts may have failed to give at-risk families a full breakdown of their rights.
The Green Party warned that the issue potentially poses “serious financial implications” to the State unless an immediate moratorium is placed on the house repossessions.
Greens TD Catherine Martin said a recent High Court ruling found that European consumer law must be considered in any Irish home repossession.
But while this means judges and county registrars must carry out an assessment of whether the deals involved are “fair and appropriate” and must ensure home owners are fully informed of their rights.
Ms Martin said the issue renders thousands of repossessions technically illegal and leaves the State liable for any financial implications.
She called for the Government to effectively ban repossessions until the legal problem is resolved.
Citing the 79,562 home mortgages in arrears, she said: “There is a potential financial risk for the State here.If the Irish courts were not properly implementing EU law in these cases, and homeowners suffered a loss because of this, the State may be liable to pay them damages.”
The repossessions ban request comes amid claims from mortgage rights campaigner, David Hall, that up to 20,000 families are on the verge of losing their homes.
A private members’ bill motion from the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit calling for strict new laws to regulate vulture funds was also heard last night.
While the AAA-PBP bill is likely to be defeated today, it has demanded that receivers and vulture funds are re-classified as landlords and for a new ban preventing tenants from eviction because their home is being sold, among other measures.
Meanwhile, the Social Democrats are demanding an end to assets being sold off by Nama. The party is launching a bill suggesting that the agency should instead become the State’s “social and economic development”.
“Changing the Nama act so that the priority shifts to focus on citizens and how Nama can act in their best interest seems the very obvious and the right thing to do now,” said Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy.
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