Saturday 16 December 2017

Minister calls on banks to offer compensation to homeowners whose property deeds have disappeared

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Tomás Heneghan

A government minister has called on banks to reassure and offer compensation to homeowners whose property deeds have disappeared from their banks in recent years.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan took to Twitter to clarify the issue and urge banks to take action on it.

Minister Flanagan explained: “Banks are fully responsible for title deeds entrusted to their care. Statement of reassurance required and offers of compensation asap."

The controversy came to light through a radio show discussion on Thursday, with several callers to the show saying their title deeds had disappeared from their banks over a number of recent years.

The callers, speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline show, said they had left their documents with various banks for safe keeping but when they returned to collect them, they were told the banks no longer held the deeds.

The issue was raised again on the popular show hosted by Joe Duffy again on Friday afternoon, with several more people relaying similar stories.

Read More: Homeowners reveal their deeds have disappeared from banks after years of 'safe keeping'

One man, Martin, said he had left his deeds with Ulster Bank in 1997 when he was taking out a mortgage.

He said the branch subsequently closed down and when he and his wife decided to separate he contacted the bank.

He told the show the bank told him the documents were mislaid when the contents of the branch were moved to another branch.

He explained: “All I know is that I don’t have them.”

Martin said the bank has not offered yet to replace the documents or cover the cost of having them replaced but that his “legal advisor had been on to [the bank] on several occasions”.

“I’m leaving it now with the legal experts,” he added.

Another caller, Diarmuid, told the show he left his deeds with Permanent TSB in the early 2000s when he got two mortgages for two different properties.

When the mortgages were close to being paid off, Diarmuid said he received a call from the bank telling him he could collect the documents for one of the houses.

He said that he decided while he was in the bank he would collect the second set of documents, however was then told they had gone missing.

He said he had to get the deeds reconstituted at a cost of approximately €1500 but that the bank covered the cost.

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