Judges to have more say over evictions

The Government is to bring forward a bill on repossessions so judges can have more discretion in allowing people to stay in their homes despite the wishes of the banks.

The new laws would protect homeowners and tenants by insisting on an assessment of the consequences of the repossession for those living in the house.

There were 421 homes repossessed in the third quarter of 2016, according to figures from the Central Bank.

The Independent Alliance see repossessions as a major priority and will be pushing the bill, when the Dáil returns from its Christmas break.

Under the new law, if a judge feels that a family, or individual, would be better off remaining in the house, despite being in significant arrears, they could overrule a bank or financial institution that wants the property back.

Independent Alliance TD, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, said: “You have to give judges power, judges have to have power to make decisions at the moment the legislation around repossession means if the banks want their house, they can take it.

“We need to be able to look at the consequences for the family, the consequences for the people”.

The minister for the OPW, Sean Canney, said that vulture funds needed to be addressed. He said many of these funds bought up large numbers of properties during the crash, and since then, and now want to sell these off as property prices increase.

He said that the bill would include stipulations to make it more difficult for these vulture funds to evict tenants and to then sell their homes for massive profits.

“There are lots of things going on with vulture funds, and there are lots of things going on where decisions are being made without thinking about the people in the house, and their history of the people in the house, the family situation, and what is the consequence of evicting them from the house, so we are looking at all of that,” he said.

It comes after homeless campaigner, Fr Peter McVerry, recently warned that a further 25,000 families could lose their homes in the coming years, if the Government does not intervene in the crisis.

“Without urgent legislation, such as mortgage-to-rent legislation being obligatory on the banks, we could end up with 25,000 of those houses being repossessed by the banks and 25,000 families plunged into homelessness. That is a real scenario over the next few years.”

Speaking on the Pat Kenny Show, on Newstalk, Fr McVerry added that financial institutions are not dealing with individuals, as they find it easier to sell properties in bulk to vulture funds.

“We have got to put people first. It is money that is speaking and money that is making the decisions, but we have to put people first.

“But the banks don’t like that and this government is on the side of the banks.

“The Government wants the banks to make as much money as possible, so they can repay the Government the money given to them to bail them out.”


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