Hundreds of repossession cases affected by court decision

By February 28, 2018Articles
Hundreds of cases regarding repossession are pending after a court decision following an appeal by Tanager Designated Activity Company for being refused a repossession order for a home. In fact, a High Court judge has requested the Court of Appeal to decide certain legal issues that are “of considerable public importance”, following this case involving a claim for repossession of Rolf Kane’s family home in Clonsilla in Dublin.

Bank of Scotland did not register itself as owner of the charge

The case is based on a March 2006 mortgage granted to Mr. Kane by Bank of Scotland Ireland.  On December 31, 2010, the latter merged into Bank of Scotland plc, which then sold a portfolio of securities to a fund called Tanager Designated Activity Company. Mr. Kane’s mortgage was included in this portfolio. Tanager thus became registered on April 25, 2014, as the owner of the charge. According to Tanager, Mr. Kane had fallen into arrears on mortgage repayments. Repossession proceedings were subsequently initiated in 2015.

The main point arising, in this case, is that whether Bank of Scotland, which did not register itself as the owner of the charge, had the authority to transfer that charge to Tanager. Mr. Justice Seamus Noonan acknowledged that this issue could directly affect hundreds of cases. As a result, he requested the Court of Appeal to take a stand before he goes ahead on Tanager’s appeal. 

Apart from the above-mentioned issue, this case has entailed other controversies. One of them is whether the Property Registration Authority was entitled to register Tanager as the owner of the charge and whether Mr. Kane can challenge that registration. The other concern is the consequences of any successful challenge by him.

Since the High Court cannot refer legal issues to be determined by the Court of Appeal, Mr. Justice Seamus Noonan invited the parties to apply for such a referral.

Banks are stepping up repossessions of residential properties

The number of borrowers getting into early-stage arrears on their mortgages is on the rise. In the final quarter of 2016, the figure soared the first time in four years according to the Central Bank. Despite the fact that the Government radically restructured the personal insolvency regime to encourage more heavily indebted consumers to use it, it seems that a trend of arrears rising is settling again. At the beginning of 2017, at least 30,000 households faced losing their homes due to mortgage arrears. Lenders are also seen as stepping up repossessions of residential properties in this bleak scenario. In the first quarter of 2017, there were 1,693 properties in banks’ possession. A total of 370 properties were also taken into possession by lenders during the same period.

Research indicates that victims of home loss experience a range of devastating reactions like feelings of painful loss, frequent symptoms of psychological, social or somatic distress, and a sense of helplessness. It is also acknowledged that the loss of a home can amount to a serious breach of human rights; as such, any person at such risk must be able to have the proportionality of that measure impartially reviewed.

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