New laws, which will allow banks to repossess homes and investment properties, came into force today.
The fact that the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act is now operational means that thousands of homeowners and investors are expected to be threatened with having their properties seized.
Up until now banks had been unable to threaten repossessions following a ruling in the High Court in 2011. The new legislation overwrites what became known as the Dunne judgement though, which up until now had put a block on repossessions.
Now many of the more than 54,000 residential homeowners who are more than a year in arrears face the real threat of repossession.
Banks are also likely to try and take ownership of around 30,000 buy-to-lets that are in arrears. Almost half of these mortgages are having only the interest payments made on them.
According to The Irish Independent, Davy Stockbrokers has estimated that up to 43,700 letters threatening repossession have been issued y banks, despite their being unable to pursue cases over the past two years.
David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Organisation said he now expected a flood of repossession applications.