Dublin South West and Sinn Fein TD Seán Crowe says the Government’s new housing and homelessness action plan offers little solace for the thousands of people currently in mortgage distress and facing the very real threat of losing their home. Crowe says that the issue of mortgage distress cannot just be wished away and needed to be dealt with on a statutory basis.
According to the Central Bank statistics released in June, 85,989 or 11% of mortgage accounts were in arrears.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“I welcome many of the housing actions contained in this long awaited report but there is very little comfort for the tens of thousands of families and individuals trapped in mortgage debt and under the constant threat of losing their home. The commitment in the Programme for Government to set up a ‘Special Court’ to deal with these cases seems to have disappeared off the agenda.
Every day courts across the State make final judgments against householders in mortgage difficulties. Therefore the lack of urgency in introducing support is hard to understand.
There was a promise to amend the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears to include an obligation on mortgage providers to provide a range of sustainable arrears solutions, including a strong consumer protection framework. This would ensure that each borrower who is experiencing genuine difficulty in meeting the repayments is treated in a timely, transparent and fair manner by lenders. Sadly, this has not happened.
There was also an expectation that distressed mortgage holders would be offered the option of a split mortgage or a mortgage to rent but again uncertainty reigns in relation to this.
The issue of home repossessions is not going to disappear any time soon. More and more families and individuals are facing the terrifying prospect of legal action and the very real threat of losing their home. The issue of mortgage distress cannot just be wished away. The Government’s housing plan lacks a commitment to tackle the problem on a statutory basis, which is greatly needed”.