PRESS RELEASE BY THE Hub-Ireland COMMUNITY GROUP
EMBARGO: Monday 2nd May 2016
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Tel: 01 534 9118 (office hours)
CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED FOR REPEAL OF ‘THE EVICTIONS BILL’
The community group, The Hub-Ireland, which works to help distressed mortgage-holders, has launched a campaign to have the controversial Land and Conveyancing (Reform) Act 2013 repealed and has also called for an immediate moratorium on family home evictions.
At a packed conference held over the weekend in Portlaoise to discuss the problem of mortgage-arrears, Martina Doyle of The Hub-Ireland announced the initiative to loud applause, after describing the detrimental effects the Act has had on mortgage-holders and their families, leading to rising homelessness, widespread despair, and tragic suicides.
The Hub-Ireland is now hoping to gain the support of the majority of TDs in the 32nd Dáil for the repeal of the 2013 Act and for it to be replaced by legislation compelling affordable solutions to be offered to all families in mortgage distress.
The Hub-Ireland is calling on everybody who cares about the homeless crisis to help families under threat of repossession by emailing their TDs to ask them to “repeal the Evictions Bill”, and by tweeting the slogan: “Let’s stand together and stop family home repossessions!” accompanied by the hashtag
Ms Doyle said the Land and Conveyancing (Reform) Act 2013 was introduced to facilitate the banks and “remedy the legal difficulties associated with seeking successful possession orders against borrowers.”
She described the legislation as “extremely pro-banking and aiding those with a vested interest. It allows the banks’ default insurance to kick in once they have been granted a possession order on a property. This is not about arrears and debt, it is simply about an insurance claim and that is the great con. For the unsuspecting borrower, it is an horrific nightmare that is causing untold damage to many and to the fabric of our society.”
The 2013 Act was introduced by former Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, with no debate on the social consequences down the line when it would cause a tsunami of repossessions.
The Banks had been lobbying the government prior to the enactment of the legislation and The Hub-Ireland contends the Act was written for the banks’ benefit, making fast-track repossessions possible on an industrial scale, creating a “David and Goliath situation” vis-a-vis the home-owner.
“It aids and abets the smooth recovery of the property by the moneylender in a fashion which entraps the borrower into a process, which in most cases, allows the moneylender deem the mortgage as ‘unsustainable’. ‘Unsustainability’ is the magic word that gives the green light to the moneylender to initiate the repossession,” said Ms Doyle.
The much-hated 2013 Act has become known as “the Evictions Bill” and has enabled summary possession proceedings to be processed en masse through the court system without cases ever being heard before a judge. Instead, possession orders are being handed down by County Registrars, in “Evictions Courts” reminiscent of those of Famine times, and frequently in the absence of home-owners who are too frightened to turn up in court and unable to afford legal representation.
“Far from being places of justice and equality, these courts are, in our opinion, nothing more than torture chambers, said Ms Doyle.”
Hub-Ireland members have been observing the workings of various County Registrar courts for some time and report that home repossession cases are pushed through with frequent violation of due process, questionable paperwork on the part of the banks, and a seeming bias by the courts against homeowners.
Ms Doyle added, “The Evictions Bill is repugnant to our constitutional right to property and the protection of the family home or dwelling.”
The Hub-Ireland is a voluntary, self-help group which offers free support and information to mortgage-holders who are being brought to court in repossession proceedings by their banks.
Ms Doyle described the calls of desperation her organisation receives everyday from borrowers who have been told to get out of their homes: ” The mother, or father, panic-stricken as to where they are going to go; the single person who feels they have no rights because they are on their own; the elderly couple who are frightened to death of the knock on the door to drag them out in front of all the neighbors. ”
Often the home-owners they help have already been to other more high-profile charities and organisations working in this area, but have been told there is nothing that can be done to help them and they should surrender their homes to the banks. They go to The Hub-Ireland as a last resort and find that there is action they can take to fight the banks and defend their homes in court.
Hub-Ireland members have built up considerable legal knowledge from their own experience of defending their homes and have had some notable successes, including challenging the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court in possession cases where the banks claimed the rateable value of the home was less than the court’s limit.
The Hub-Ireland headquarters is in Dublin, but it also has several branches in different parts of the country where local support can be sought.
The Hub-Ireland invites anyone in distress due to mortgage debt to contact them on 01 534 9118, or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
/ends press release