Shatter insists mortgage legislation will not “open the floodgates” for repossessions
Threshold chairwoman calls for urgent review of mortgage code of conduct
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter: Land and Conveyancing Amendment Bill , already passed by the Dáil, “does not grant any additional powers to financial institutions”.
There were sharp exchanges in the Seanad in a row about legislation dealing with home repossessions.
The Land and Conveyancing Amendment Bill was introduced in the Seanad by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, who insisted it “does not grant any additional powers to financial institutions”.
The Bill reinstates a provision in legislation in 2009 that the rules on home repossession would apply to mortgages in place before that year.
Mr Shatter rejected claims the Bill would “open the floodgates for repossessions”. It merely reinstated a provision that existed four years ago.
Before debate began, however, Thomas Byrne (FF) claimed the Bill “will directly allow approximately 71,000 family homes to be repossessed”, about half the 142,118 mortgages in arrears.
However, Labour Seanad leader Ivana Bacik accused him of “scaremongering”, which was a “typical tactic to distract people from the fact that Fianna Fáil sleep-walked us into a situation where so many people are in the desperate situation of mortgage arrears”.
The Minister said additional safeguards for borrowers would allow court proceedings to be adjourned for full consideration to be given to personal insolvency arrangements as an alternative to repossession.
Paul Bradford (FG) said they were obliged to pass the legislation “and we are simply restating what the previous government....believed to be the position at that time”.
Would not pay
Independent Aideen Hayden, chairwoman of housing agency Threshold, said she did not believe the Ulster Bank’s CEO who said last week one in three mortgages in long-term arrears were those who would not pay.
“It was a serious overstatement of the situation” but those who would not pay did a serious disservice to those who were making repayments.