People in mortgage arrears urged to engage with lending institutions

People in mortgage arrears were yesterday warned that “sticking your head in the sand will not help”.

People in mortgage arrears urged to engage with lending institutions

The comments came from David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation following the high rate of adjournment in repossession application cases in Ennis court yesterday.

A total of 67 repossession applications cases were before the Clare County Registrar, but the vast majority of cases were adjourned, with 23 of the 67 cases adjourned because the banks can’t locate the home owners or have their registered letters returned.

In the cases before the court, the largest number of repossession applications came from Ulster Bank at 26; 17 from the EBS; and eight from the AIB; with a single application from the Bank of Ireland. In one case, Ulster Bank was seeking to proceed yesterday with the repossession application.

The total amount owed by the single west Clare man to the bank was €128,428 including €26,011 arrears.

The unemployed machine operator said that he had reached an agreement to pay the bank €195 per month, but missed a December payment as he had to carry out roof repairs. He told the court that after he missed his payment, the bank increased the payments to €668 that he was unable to pay.

Adjourning the case to July, Mr Wallace said: “I’d like you to do something concrete and increase the payments. If you got a job, you could surmount this debt.”

Earlier this week the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Organisation (IMHO) brokered a deal with AIB bank which saw €150,000 of a €400,000 mortgage written off, thereby allowing a couple with two children to split the outstanding mortgage in two and stay in the family home.

However, David Hall said circumstances in that case were exceptional and warned homeowners in difficulty to engage with the lending institutions. The rise in repossession applications had signalled “a monumental change” with the “legal lacuna” caused by the Dunne judgment cleared thanks to the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act introduced last year.

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