Ask The Expert: Week 11 Show Notes - Best Bits

Personal Insolvency Practitioner’s and MABS staff cover a variety of topics on week 11 of our Ask the Expert series. Listed below are questions taken from each interview. If you’d like to hear more of a specific interview, scroll to the bottom of the page where the full recordings are listed for playback.


Credit Servicing Firms (so-called "vulture funds") now own approximately 20% of all home mortgage accounts. How is this going to affect borrowers?

Mitchell O’Brien on WLR:

“They would have been known as quite aggressive in the past, but they've taken the view that with the new laws that have been passed. It's not in their best interest anymore to move directly for repossession. They will proceed to repossess where there isn't engagement, but they now are welcoming people to approach Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIPs) and they are agreeable to the types of structures that a PIP will present to them.”


Credit servicing firms not offering arrangements to borrowers is one of many myths that surround mortgage arrears. We’ve created a list of them for you to watch on our YouTube channel.

What supports can a borrower expect on their first visit to the repossession court?

Brian MacGabhann on GB FM:

“[Going to court] is an extraordinarily difficult time. Nobody wants to be in court. The point to mention is that you should turn up and if you do, you won't be alone. MABS has a Court Mentor service. There is a Court Mentor in every court in the country where the repossession cases are being heard. The Court Mentor is there to act as a point of contact for people who are coming in who may not be familiar with the court and maybe don’t know what to do or where to go.

There's also a Duty Solicitor present every time the repossession court proceeding is sitting and the Duty Solicitor is there to speak on the person's behalf [where permitted] so that they can address the court on the person's behalf. The person doesn't have to address the court themselves if they don't want to. The other point to make is that the court itself is very understanding of the fact that this is a difficult and stressful place to be.

In any of the courts I’ve been in, the County Registrar bends over backwards to try to ease the situation for the person, to try to make the person feel that their ease. They will give the person all the scope and latitude they can in order to help them try to reach an agreement and try to reach a successful outcome.”


mortgage arrears repossessio court

What is the Mortgage to Rent scheme and how does the application work?

Eugene McDarby on LM FM:

“To apply, the borrower would go to their local County Council and apply for social housing. If they get approved for that, then they can apply for a separate Mortgage to Rent application form. That application is to a housing agency, separate to the County Council. The housing agency will then buy the house off the borrower and pay the bank the value of the house.

The borrower subsequently rents the property from the housing agency, and it's normally a thirty-year lease. The rent payment is normally based on income. Let's say you're on disability benefit, which is around €1000 a month. The charge for the rent is normally €30 per week."


A listener asks how they can address mortgage debt when they’re separated and their ex-partner is not engaging.

Maurice Lenihan on Live 95:

“The first thing that comes to mind is that personal insolvency is not about couples; it's about the individual. If you’re party to a loan, there's no difficulty or nothing is preventing you getting those debts dealt with in a Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) or even through bankruptcy if needs be.

If the home has been sold and there is residual debt remaining, they could look at a Debt Settlement arrangement (DSA), for that to happen may need to have some money that you could put into an arrangement as a lump sum or possibly spread it out over a few years.”


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Is there a solution for everyone?

John O’Callaghan on C103:

“That's my experience, yes. There's a mathematical calculation that can be done for everybody to show the creditor how much they can hope to get. There comes the point where you can't get any more and our job is to show that. We do this by working with the debtor, working out what their income and outgoings are. We work out what their Reasonable Living Expenses (RLEs) must be, accounting for heating, medical expenses and car needs etc. Everything needs to be taken into consideration. There are good rules and laws about that. Once we do all of that, we can show the creditor what's left. That’s where the solution comes from.”


What is the first step a borrower in mortgage arrears should take?

Gwen Harris on Q102:

“The first thing I would tell borrowers and it would be probably easier for the person who's sitting there in difficulty today; call the MABS Helpline on 0761 07 2000. The dedicated advisers on the phone would talk to you and determine how serious your mortgage situation is. Do you need a Personal Insolvency Practitioner? Do you need to see a Dedicated Mortgage Adviser? Do you need to go and talk to somebody about your overall situation?”


Information Sources:

Galway Bay FM - Galway Talks with Keith Finnegan Episode 11 (2nd October 2019)

Limerick’s Live 95 FM - Limerick Today with Joe Nash Episode 11 (22nd October 2019)

Dublin’s Q102 – Mornings with Liam and Venetia Episode 11 (23rd October 2019)

LMFM - The 11 – 1 Show with Sinead Brassil Episode 11 (30th October 2019)

C103 - Cork Today with Patricia Messenger Episode 11 (13th November 2019)

WLR FM - Déise Today with Damien Tiernan Episode 11 (13th November 2019)

If you or someone you know is affected by some of the topics raised in the above discussion, call the MABS dedicated Helpline on 0761 07 2000, or visit mabs.ie/contact to find your local office and to learn more about how Abhaile may help.