Will I lose my home?

Borrowers in fear of losing their homes should make themselves familiar with the legislative protections available to them. The Land And Conveyancing Act 2019, for example, requires lenders to examine a borrower’s circumstances before they can look at issuing a repossession order.

However, the Act only applies in certain circumstances including if a borrower has engaged with Abhaile, Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) or mortgage to rent, or in the personal insolvency process. If a borrower has not been engaging in the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) with their lender, they are at a higher risk of losing their home.

This is why it is important to seek the appropriate advice to show your case in the best possible way.

Do I need to be present in court?

If possible, you should attend court on the date given to ensure that your side of the story is presented. Appearing in court and showing that you have made an effort to meet your repayments are two things that will reflect favourably on you. The first court hearing is usually a practice adjournment, where the case is adjourned for up to six months, but it is still very important that you attend to show your commitment to the property.

Do I need to have a solicitor?

There is no real need to have a solicitor unless you believe you’ve been the victim of serious malpractice or similar. However, you may still choose to engage one. There are Abhaile duty solicitors and court mentors who can offer free support at each Circuit Court sitting. 

In some courts, the duty solicitor may speak on your behalf if you are unable or too nervous to do so yourself.

What actually happens on the day?

Prepare yourself for a long wait. There can be 30 to 40 people on the court list on any one day. The Abhaile court mentors like Patricia and Michael are your first point of contact and are usually there long before the court opens. If you are speaking on your behalf, wait for your number to be called from the list, stand up and state your name, and answer any questions asked of you. As it’s a public courtroom, you can bring family members or friends along for support, but they will not be permitted to speak on your behalf.

The court has issued a repossession order. What do I do?

If a resolution has not been reached after repeat hearings, the court may rule in the lender’s favour, permitting them to repossess your house. At that stage, the court may grant a “stay”: this is a grace period allowing you to stay in your home for three to six months before the lender is permitted to take possession of it.

After a repossession order is granted, you can still appeal the ruling to a higher court, or make contact with your bank to see if alternative agreements can be reached.

There have been many positive resolutions even when an Order of Possession has been granted. If you haven’t already done so, contact ourselves to discuss your options under Abhaile. The one message we always try to get across to people is that it’s never too late.

Get help and support

If you are in mortgage arrears or fear you are at risk of losing your home, you may be eligible for free financial or legal advice under the Abhaile service. For more information, feel free to reach out to our dedicated team.