Social Democrats Launch Policy to Resolve the Mortgage Crisis

November 27, 2015

The Social Democrats have today announced their plans to resolve the mortgage crisis. The policy paper, which was developed with input from David Hall of IMHO and others is designed to minimise the number of repossessions, ensure borrowers receive fair treatment, ensure appropriate solutions are offered on a case by case basis, and minimise on-going social and economic damage. It would do all of this without the need for further recapitalisation of the banks.

Speaking at the launch, Stephen Donnelly, Social Democrat TD for Wicklow and East Carlow called for a greater Government action on the ongoing crisis:

‘Years of government inaction have allowed the mortgage crisis in Ireland to become far worse than in other countries suffering similar economic difficulties. The result has been years of unnecessary stress and suffering for hundreds of thousands of men, women and children.’

‘The suite of policy changes called for by the Social Democrats is relatively easy to bring about, and brings with it no great risk for lenders. In fact, many lenders would welcome a more level playing field, where they are not disadvantaged relative to their competitors when they do right by their customers.
He said ‘While total arrears are now falling, the recovery could be faster, fairer and less expensive. It is important to recognise that the number of mortgages in arrears of over two years is not falling. This group is made up of tens of thousands of families in serious trouble, many of whom are in court, have unsustainable loans and are most at risk of eviction and homelessness.’

‘The reason these measures have not been implemented to date is a lack of political will in government. The coalition has followed a hands-off approach when it comes to the mortgage crisis that will, in time, be seen for the incompetence it represents. This includes the act of allowing mortgages on family homes be sold to foreign debt collectors for a fraction of their face value, while disallowing the mortgage holders themselves from bidding on them.’

Key Policies Include:

  • Reducing bankruptcy to one year until the end of the crisis;
  •  Mandating maximum income payment period of two years, post-bankruptcy;
  • Creating a one-stop-shop for borrowers in distress, that is free at the point of use and provides expert financial and legal advice and representation;
  • Equipping the courts to refuse possession orders based on the sustainability of a proposed restructure;
  •  Mandating a set of restructuring options to be considered in all cases;
  • Improving access to the mortgage-to-rent scheme;
  • Increasing sustainability of restructures, by redefining it to include consideration of total debts, including residual debts and payments post-retirement.

Resolving the Mortgage Crisis Final (1)