Lenders must show they tried all valid alternatives
All repossessions in Northern Ireland start with a writ issued in respect of default on the repayment of a mortgage. The case is not considered as “disposed with” until a final order is issued.
A final possession order sees the court rule that a property owner must deliver possession of the property within a specified time.
A final suspended possession order sees it postpone the date for delivery of possession if it is satisfied the defendant is likely, within a reasonable period, to pay any sums due under the mortgage, or to remedy any other breach of their obligations.
Other orders include strike out or dismissal action which occur when the moving party does not wish to proceed any further, or when the court rules that there are no reasonable grounds for defending the mortgage. When there is a failure to deliver possession of a property following a final possession order, the Enforcement of Judgments Office has statutory power to enforce the order.
In August 2011, the “Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Proceedings based on Mortgage Arrears in respect of Residential Property” was revised.
The basic premise of the original protocol was to reduce repossession court proceedings through negotiation and exploring alternative ways of reaching a settlement.
The revised protocol states lenders should ensure repossession is a last resort and demonstrate they have tried to agree alternatives to repossession with borrowers.
Details about the protocol is available at iti.ms/SynagJ