Yesterday a man in Arklow, Co. Wicklow barricaded himself and his sister into their family home using machinery from his plant-hire business in order to stop the house from being repossessed. The man said his actions were an attempt to reopen negotiations with an unspecified lender that had attempted to serve a repossession order.
New figures show that 600 new cases of repossessions have come before the courts in just one month and according to the Financial Regulator as of May just gone by, 32,321 mortgages or 4.1 % of all 791,000 mortgages in the State were in arrears for more than 90 days during the first quarter of the year. Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warned that Ireland is facing repossession “disaster” if steps are not taken to aid homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages.
Fine Gael TD Bernard Allen said “With so many people struggling to keep up with mortgage payments it is vital that action is taken now to force the banks to make repossession the absolute last resort; if this doesn’t happen… we could be facing a repossession disaster in this country which could have major implications for any fragile, economic recovery”.
However Felix O’Regan of the Irish Banking Federation (IBF) who’s group released a report earlier this month on the issue of mortgage arrears said “steps are being taken day by day, week by week to tackle the issue of mortgage arrears”… ”Lenders will not take court action against (/ serve repossessions orders) anyone who has approached them in an effort to tackle their arrears problems”. They say if you are struggling with repayments the best thing you can do is to communicate with your lender who will help you work out a repayment plan.
Along with a new five-step system to be set up allowing homeowners with mortgage arrears to agree new repayment terms with banks and building societies a second report is also to be published in September from the Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt Expert Group that will deal with the issues of negative equity and debt forgiveness.