Keeping People in their Homes Bill 2017 (the Bill) is a private members bill and was presented to the Dáil last Thursday by a member of the Independent Alliance. The purpose of the Bill is to provide the Irish Courts with a statutory base to allow for a proportionate assessment of a person's circumstances when considering a repossession order.

The Bill proposes to amend provisions of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 which provide a mortgagee with the ability to take possession of a mortgaged property.

The Bill provides that where an order for repossession is before a court, the court must assess:

  • whether the order is order is proportionate to the legitimate aim being pursued; factors to consider here include the amount of principal/interest paid in relation to the total amount owed, the suitability or otherwise of a lifetime mortgage or a Personal Insolvency Arrangement, adherence to the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears;
  • the likely impact of such an order on the human rights of the mortgagor and other household members; factors to consider here include the availability of suitable and affordable alternative accommodation, older persons/persons with disabilities in the household; circumstances surrounding the execution of the mortgage contract, information provided and vulnerability of the consumer; the availability of State support and costs of providing emergency accommodation.

Where the enforcing entity is not the original lender to the mortgagor, additional factors must also be taken into consideration such as the amount that the enforcing entity paid for the loan and the availability of tax relief in respect of the non-performing loan(s).

Currently, the repossession provisions relate only to "housing loan mortgages" i.e. a mortgage which has been provided to secure a loan to a borrower for the purpose of acquiring/refinancing an interest in a property to be used as the principal residence of that borrower or his dependents. The Bill proposes to extend the scope of the new repossession provisions to include all mortgages, including commercial mortgages, and not just housing loans.

While the Bill is a private members bill, it has already proceeded to second stage without objection and we will keep you informed of the Bill's progress.

For further information on this article, please contact Louise McNabola or Paula Mullooly

Date published: 28 February 2017