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Debt , evictions , freemen and the law

category national | housing | opinion/analysis author Friday May 17, 2013 19:07author by Joe Mcauthor email joemcivor at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

From Justice Minister Alan Shatter's statement on mortgage default and repossessions ,Dec 2012

"All mortgages contain remedies that may be exercised by lending institutions in cases of mortgage default. Repossession in the event of such default is, therefore, an existing contractual right.
In a well-known 2011 case (Start Mortgages), the High Court found that enactment of reforming legislation in 2009 may have had the unintended consequence in certain cases of restricting lending institutions from asserting their repossession rights.

Alan Shatter, denied Tuesday that this week’s passing of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill, through the Oireachtas would “open the floodgates “ to repossession of mortaged properties whose owners have fallen into repayment default . To the minister’s quite irrelevant assertion that repossessions would not be the “first option available to banks” , Independent TD Shane Ross warned that banks could now “repossess at will and as they wish”. The very purpose of this week’s bill was to close a loophole in the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act that prevented lenders evicting homeowners for loans contracted before 2009 .There is every indication that the government will begin a coordinated pursuit of mortgage debtors relentlessly over the coming months in order to satisfy bankers' and lenders' demands .

With almost 100,000 residential mortgages in arrears of three months or more , Lorcan O’Connor who heads the government’s new Insolvency Service, this week set the new gloves-off tone by attempting to scapegoat what he referred to as “strategic defaulters” – those who supposedly have sufficient funds to pay their mortgages but are deliberately holding back in the hope of getting a better insolvency deal in the future. O’Connor warned that such behaviour was illegal and that deliberate defaulters would face fines of up to €10,000 and jail sentences of up to five years on prosecution .

Sections of the Irish media are clearly abetting the government's attempt to criminalize homeowners who are unable to pay mortgages . Without offering any substantiation , Charlie Weston ,the Irish Independent’s personal finance editor, wrote this Monday, for example : “Some estimates has[sic] put the numbers who are not paying their mortgages, even though they have the funds, as high as one of third[sic] of the numbers in arrears on residential and buy-to-let arrears.”
See: http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/people-who-del....html

Ever since the 2008 financial crash ,social workers have been warning about the desperation of distressed mortgage holders . Ignatius Beglane told the Oireachtas Committee on Finance and Public Service as far back as 2009 that psychiatrists were already reporting how borrowers faced with home repossessions were showing suicidal tendencies. Faced with losing homes and businesses other desperate mortgage holders are turning to the quack lawyers of groups such as the Freemen on The Land who try to persuade that there is a remedy under common law whereby individuals can declare themselves “independent of government jurisdiction “.

One person who acted on Freeman advice recently is Francis Cullen, a Tipperary business man adjudicated bankrupt against his wishes in 2011 after his plant hire and sales firm in Clonard fell into financial difficulties . He later lost the business property and his home. Earlier this week Mr Cullen who had already spent three months in prison for contempt was returned to Mountjoy for six months after telling High Court judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne that he didn’t recognise her authority. The court proceedings in Dublin were interrupted several times by Mr Cullen’s supporters from the Freemen on the Land movement .

Today’s Irish Times reports that the Law Society of Ireland and barristers working in the area of debt have advised borrowers in trouble to stay away from groups that claim to have “a secret formula” for circumventing Irish law based on “false imaginings of what the law might be”. According to barrister Keith Rooney, there have been more than 100 cases in the past 12 months in Irish courts in which individuals have used versions of freemen arguments. “These guys are liable to get a lot of vulnerable people into trouble.”

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/lawyers-ad...96641

Groups involved with protecting family homes under repossesion threat , include The Anti-Eviction Task Force ,The People’s Association Watchdog, Irish Homeowners Unite, DOHL and New Beginnings . see here for links : http://www.antievictiontaskforce.com/ .
Such groups emphasise solidarity and act on the sensible premise that evictions are in fact perfectly legal under the present judicial system and that there are no hidden, esoteric legal formulae capable of preventing wholescale evictions of defaulting mortgage holders .
In order to successfully resist evictions it is necessary to understand the prime lesson learned from previous anti-eviction movements in Ireland , which is that landlords faced with tenants who are unable to pay their mortgages will resort to evictions and will receive the full backing of the legal system in asserting their right to ownership of property .

Land League founder Michael Davitt wrote about how in the 19 century “eviction was the law of the land”. Today the parasitic landlord class has been replaced by the equally parasitic banking class, whose members act according to actual rather than “moral law” . They consider properties occupied by defaulting mortgage holders to belong to lenders by right of law . From a legal standpoint they are correct. Under such circumstances successful resistance to evictions must inevitably mean defiance of the law.

author by leftypublication date Sat May 18, 2013 10:32Report this post to the editors

Good post Joe!

author by Turingpublication date Sat May 18, 2013 12:22Report this post to the editors

I agree, it makes some important points. Solidarity beats evictions, not words of power.

author by Comyn - Justicepublication date Sun May 26, 2013 15:51Report this post to the editors

We need more postings like this one from Joe. Apathy perplexes our population and the haze needs to clarity if people are to understand their basic legal rights in relation to their family home, in the wake of more changes in the law going forward.

The law of the land today so easily states remedies supposedly for the common good. If you fail to pay your property tax on a self assessment value basis, a fine of £5,000 applies or prison. If you fail to comply with law brought in February relating to mainly pre-1963 bedsit type houses, the landlord will be fined, or sent to prison. Clarity in the law exists as the data mining exercise is enriched by the registration of all people connected in anyway to owning a property in Ireland. This is modern day cartography and for those who aim to remain outside the net, it looks as if you are on the losing side because the Revenue is the enforcer and we all know the power that exists there. Meantime instead of selling off apartments as independent units, we have a new marketing mantra - Multi-family investment opportunities. International buyers are attracted to these developments, so much discounted from Celtic Tiger prices, that they are being bought up swiftly. However, what about the cross over. First do these new owners pay a once off property tax charge (significantly discounted) in respect of the people who will take leases out and occupy these buildings.

More importantly, what about the people who live throughout the city of Dublin and Ireland in the antiquated houses which since February this year are no longer compliant with the law and will need to be vacated for the landlords/owners to carry out the necessary renovations to comply with the law. Many of these people have lived in these homes for decades, are often in receipt of rent allowance and are now shivering in their shoes as the landlords tell them - Goodbye - you own nothing and we don't have to make any provisions for you. Who cares for these people? Where will they be on the housing list? These are a needy group of people very close indeed to the bottom rung of the ladder. Will the Government speak up for them and ask these new landlords of apartment complexes give them first call. I hope so - there are stories of heartbreak all over Dublin in particular where people do not know if they will have a home by next week. We hear nothing about compensation being made to these people or services provided to ensure their transition to their new apartments!

Then as detailed above we have over 100,000 people in mortgage arrears with properties discounted by near 70% in some cases. In Spain, Greece, Portugal, there is a change in family structure as the banks exercise their rights and evict people and those who do not commit suicide or become homeless, return to the homes of their parents with all the distress that goes with making such a move.

Quite rightly, the originator of this topic states that the 'Land League founder Michael Davitt wrote about how in the 19th century “eviction was the law of the land”. Today the parasitic landlord class has been replaced by the equally parasitic banking class, whose members act according to actual rather than “moral law” . They consider properties occupied by defaulting mortgage holders to belong to lenders by right of law . From a legal standpoint they are correct. Under such circumstances successful resistance to evictions must inevitably mean defiance of the law.

Ireland is on the brink of being totally morally bankrupt in relation to people and their property entitlements - all because in a snapshot of time when the elites await a little 'controlled inflation' to devalue property or that 'write-down in the value of debt' we surely deserve by now so that they can once more swoop in and create their wealth portfolios. Markets are markets but morality is a choice and the time for introspection and correction is now.

Eviction has always occurred but now the loophole is closed many more people, particularly those 2 years and over 90 days in arrears are daily awaiting phone calls, the post, or even the judgment and its fear at its worst that will cripple this economy.

A warning ..... many people face the Spanish Inquisition of the Personal Insolvency Pratictioner ('PIP') with the guidelines as documented by the Department of Justice team. Again the law states £10,000 fine or prison but be warned about what happens if you opt to become a bankrupt in the UK and your breach the law: Shane Hickey reports from London....'UK punishes Irish bankruptcy cheats'. Check up the cases of Patrick Gerard Byrne and Martin Doran 'who have been told they must spend nine and seven years in bankruptcy - instead of the usual 12 months - after they were found to have been trying to "put the money beyond the reach of the creditors". 1 year financial purgatory is swapped for their choice of being just too smart and trying to outwit the law and more important the moral compass that should guide people in this world. For those particularly stressed by what lies ahead now with eviction, thread softly when you make a statement of your needs and assets. The same goes when you are getting divorced!

author by JoeMcpublication date Thu Jul 04, 2013 14:35Report this post to the editors

"Ladies and gentlemen I'm afraid we're going to have to cancel today's auction."… Allsops auctioneer

A protest this morning forced Allsops property auctioneers to cancel its planned sell-off of repossessed homes and businesses at the Shelbourne Hotel . Protestors rose to their feet shortly after the start of proceedings and warned potential bidders of possible “unpleasantness” if gardai attempted to remove them. According to twitter messages, the demonstrators were accompanied by several TD’s.

Protester Gerry Calahan - a former publican from Dublin who lost his business – recalled Parnell's words urging the ostracism of those who bought on the backs of the dispossessed :
"You should shun them in the fairgreen and the market place," he said.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/property-auction-c....html
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/allsops-prop...52696

 
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