Monday 19 March 2018

IMF wants faster home repossessions

IMF wants faster home repossessions
IMF wants faster home repossessions
Michael Brennan

Michael Brennan

THE IMF has called for specialist judges to be used to speed up the repossession of homes by banks.

In its latest staff report, it said the overall number of repossessions in Ireland was very low, with just 0.3pc of those in arrears losing their homes compared to rates of 3pc to 5pc in Britain and the USA.

The IMF noted that the Government had committed to closing a loophole in the law which has effectively prevented most house repossessions for the past two years.

But it also called for changes to the courts process so that banks would be able to reposses houses faster.

“Banks report Circuit Court proceedings take a number of years due to adjournments and subsequent appeals. By comparison, the process is faster in the U.K. with many cases completed in one to two years,” it said,

The IMF staff report said that specialist judges could be used in the High Court and the Circuit Court to handle “a potentially larger volume of repossession cases in an expedited manner”.

The comments are likely to heap further pressure on Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his Government, who have repeatedly insisted that repossession of houses will only happen as a “last resort”.

The IMF is one of the three bodies funding Ireland’s bailout programme, which is due to expire at the end of this year. Its staff reports are prepared by its own officials, following discussions with the Government during their visit to Dublin.

The IMF has said that the views are those of the staff and do not “necessarily reflect” the views of the IMF Executive Board.

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