Ask The Expert: Week 6 Show Notes - Best Bits

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Personal Insolvency Practitioner’s and MABS staff cover a variety of topics on week 6 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 as information sources.

What is the Abhaile scheme?

Mitchell O’Brien (PIP) on WLR FM:

“The Abhaile scheme is an umbrella put over the various government supports for people in mortgage arrears and other unsustainable debt issues. Under the Abhaile scheme, you've got Dedicated Mortgage Arrears advisers (DMA), Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIP), Accountants, Court Mentors, Duty Solicitors and in the event that you make an application for a Personal Insolvency Arrangement, and your creditor votes against this, there is a Court Review service.”

Read about the services provided under Abhaile, in detail here.

Just because you've received a summons to Court, it doesn't automatically mean you lose your home?

Eamonn Foley (MABS) on C103:

“Absolutely not. I often look at the court process as something which gives people the push needed to get them into action. Don't get me wrong; there's a lot of people who end up in court because they've tried to engage with it themselves, they've taken what I call ‘barstool advice’ and stop paying and all this stuff. They need as much help as the person who has their head in the sand, but often the summons to come to Court will send people in the right direction, because a lot of the time they'll get referred to ourselves through the court system, especially if they go in there themselves on the first day without having contacted MABS.

A lot of times County Registrars will say MABS are in the building, go and talk to them after Court. In terms of losing their house just because they've got a court summons, absolutely not. They're a long way away still from having the house repossessed and hopefully not at all.”

Have you recently received a court summons? Watch our Court Day Tips video.

You're in a position where your mortgage has been sold to a fund? What’s the next step?

Gwen Harris (MABS) on Q102:

“The next step is the same that I would say if you're in mortgage arrears with a bank. Contact them, engage, and tell them your situation. The credit servicing companies that are working on behalf of the funds who purchase your mortgage, they will work within the process that's required under the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) . They have to assess your situation; they have to look to try and give you the best solution in consideration of your family circumstance, your financial circumstances. It is the same process that we would work in MABS and Abhaile that we would work with funds and banks.”

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What is the Boxer Moran Bill about? When will it come into law?

James Morgan on LM FM:

“There appears to be more good news for mortgage holders as the Land and Conveyancing Reform Amendment Bill 2019, which was formerly known as the Keeping People in their Homes Bill, or commonly known as the Boxer Moran Bill. It came from Boxer Moran initially. It has passed all stages in the house of Oireachtas, and it's on its way to be signed by the president hopefully, to be enacted before the courts return in October 2019. Now the bill will affect borrowers before the Courts with a Principal Private Residence (PPR). Five main benefits of the Bill for the borrower:

The court must take into account how proportionate granting an order would be, taking into account the circumstances of the case. The court must take into account the borrower's circumstances and that of their dependents. The court must take into account the response of a lender to a proposal performed by the borrower or MABS for that matter. The court must take into account how the lender and borrow have conducted themselves, i.e. whether each refused or was reluctant to engage. The court may also take into account the advised market value of the principal private residence at the date the proceedings were commenced.

So all in all, while a lot of courts may be doing these already, it's a positive step actually to formalize a lot of what was happening already. I would see this as another tool for borrowers to ensure that lenders are more transparent in their decision making.”

The bottom line is that they (the creditors) trust the team in MABS. The creditors have an ongoing relationship with MABS, and they trust you.

Brian MacGabhann (MABS) on Galway Bay FM:

“MABS has a good reputation when it comes to doing these deals. We're fighting the person's corner as well. Sometimes you do lock horns with creditors because our job is to come up with the best outcome for the client who's sitting across the table from us, they are our sole concern. If there are issues raised, we're there to fight their corner for them. There's a professional relationship there, they know we have our job to do, and we have our corner to fight. We know they have their job to do.

The whole thing is done quite professionally, so they will back off, and they will wait to at least hear what we have to say. The other thing from the creditor's point of view, when MABS get involved is, they know they're going to get good quality information, they're going to get a proper picture of what's going on, which is very, very often the key to the whole thing.

It's an absolute tragedy as I mentioned before, we're sitting in court every day that the repossession cases are being heard. I've heard case after case, where the person is just not engaging. They're not communicating with the bank. I'm listening to the details that have been given out there in court. I know in my heart, I'm sitting there listening, I know I could come up with an arrangement with this one, even based on the scant details that have been given out in court. I'm sitting there thinking if this person would sit down with me or with one of my colleagues, or with a PIP, I know we could come up with an arrangement here.

You come across cases where, for example, the arrears are relatively small, the payments are being made, and sometimes full payments are being made. But yes, the person is not communicating with the bank, they're not giving the information. The bank is telling the Court, the County Registrar, we have no choice here, we have to go ahead, and we have to get our order. Orders have been granted in situations where they absolutely don't have to be. The key there is simply the communication system, the person not communicating.”

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Is it ever too late to address home mortgage arrears?

Yvonne Bogdanovic (MABS) on Live 95:

“We would encourage people to come to MABS and seek advice, no matter how early they think it is in dealing with mortgage arrears. If somebody had a repossession order granted in Court, it could be a long period of years before a lender decides to execute the order. A lender can have six years initially to execute and can apply for a further six years. Then as we come towards the end of that further six years, the lender can send the documents to the sheriff to do the execution of the order. In MABS we would like to have time to help people properly, if people leave it genuinely very late to come to us, it limits what we can do.

As soon as you know you're in trouble with your mortgage, that is the very best time to come to MABS but, if you are towards the latter end of things and maybe you've got a letter from the sheriff saying that they're about to execute an order for repossession, it's a good time to contact MABS. But genuinely, we will try to help anybody at any stage with mortgage arrears but, to do something viable, we need a little bit of time to look at the paperwork and evaluate the situation and communicate with the people who may be able to help.”

Information Sources:

Limerick’s Live 95 FM - Limerick Today with Joe Nash Episode 6 (2nd July 2019)

Dublin’s Q102 – Mornings with Liam and Venetia Episode 6 (3rd July June 2019)

Galway Bay FM - Galway Talks with Keith Finnegan Episode 6 (3rd July 2019)

WLR FM - Déise Today with Damien Tiernan Episode 6 (9th July 2019)

C103 - Cork Today with Patricia Messenger Episode 6 (10th July 2019)

LMFM - The 11 – 1 Show with Sinead Brassil Episode 6 (17th July 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.