Repossession cases hit 600 in just over one month
SIX hundred cases for repossession of homes have come into the court system since early last month and most of those involve outright default of loans over a year or more.
But a spokesman for the Courts Service said the large number of repossession applications included a backlog of cases already in the system.
Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan, who prepares cases on their way to hearing, said he was conducting a survey on the 600 cases and would be publishing the results of that later this year.
A pattern was emerging of arrears averaging about 10pc of the original loan, he said. This would represent sizeable arrears of €25,000 for those who had taken out a typical loan of €250,000.
Mr Honohan urged borrowers to remember that arrears do not have to be paid off before monthly payments are resumed. He said that after negotiation with the lender, arrears can be spread over the period of the loan or added afterwards.
He also said borrowers in difficulties should prepare for the new system being implemented under the government-backed code for dealing with mortgage arrears.
While there were 70 repossession cases in his list for the day, most are being adjourned to allow borrowers to make payments as agreed with lenders following discussions, Mr Honohan said.
Noting the Government's recent announcement of the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, Mr Honohan said the code was being strengthened to improve the borrower's position. The code was to be given clearer legal status with a new structure for case-by-case re-negotiation to replace the current "ad-hoc procedure".
Mortgage repayment terms would be fair to both borrower and lender, he said.