Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cork Repossession Hearing - 22nd July 2015

Repossession hearings continued with the County Registrar in Cork today.  This is the 12th session attended and although the overall pattern shows little sign of changing (adjourn, adjourn, adjourn...) some other outcomes were more prevalent in today’s session.

There were 100 cases listed for today with one additional case raised at the end of the list though one of the original cases listed is a discontinued case that should not have been listed.  Thus there were 100 cases and borrowers where either present or represented in court in 43 cases.  There were 57 cases where the borrowers were absent.

Of the 100 cases the initial actions of the lenders were:

  • 65 applications for adjournments
  • 13 cases to be struck out
  • 22 cases seeking the final order for possession

The reasons for the adjournments were mainly because alternative repayment arrangements had been entered into or were being negotiated after the submission of standard financial statements.  Adjournments were also sought in a couple of instances to allow the sale of properties by borrowers to conclude.  In some cases the adjournments were to allow for a change of name of the applicant in cases where loans had been sold.

Of the 100 cases the outcomes were:

  • 80 cases were adjourned
  • 13 cases were struck out
  • 6 possession orders were granted
  • 1 case was held in camera.

It can be seen that possession orders were granted in less than one-third of the instances where the lenders proceeded with the application for the final order for possession (6 out of 21 with the outcome of the other unknown). 

Of the six possession orders granted none were contested.  In two cases the borrowers were present and/or represented and consented to the possession orders while the borrower was absent for the other four orders that were granted.  The details, where provided, are summarised below (click to enlarge).

Possession Orders 22-07-15

Of the 80 cases adjourned most were adjourned to dates in November and December with a few pushed back to February of next year.  There were ten cases which were ‘adjourned generally’.  This means no new date was set but the applicant is at liberty to re-enter at some stage in the future.  Most of these were because alternative repayments arrangements had been entered into and were being adhered to by the borrower.

There were several other cases where the lender sought an adjournment because an alternative repayment arrangement was being entered into.  However when the legal representative of the banks were asked if repayments were being made at present they said such information was not part of their instructions.  It is likely that if repayments were being made that the County Registrar would have adjourned these cases generally rather than to dates in November and December.  Information about current payments would seem to be fairly fundamental to repossession proceedings but it was not available to the court.

Most of the 15 instances where the lenders wished to proceed to the final order but saw the cases adjourned by the County Registrar were because the borrower was present and/or represented in court.  In one such a case a borrower had made no repayments since 2010 and had accumulated arrears of more than €48,000.  The borrower said their circumstances had changed and hoped that things could improve.  The case was adjourned to the 26th of October.

One case was adjourned against the wishes of the lender even though the borrower was not in court to present their circumstances.  This was for a loan with €193,000 outstanding with arrears of €36,000.  The loan first went into default in February 2011.  Various alternative repayments had been entered into in 2010, 2011 (arrears capitalisation), 2012 (interest only) and in February 2014 a reduced payment had been agreed.  Intermittent repayments were made and when reviewing the account statement the County Registrar said that “significant payments” were made in 2014 and that the arrears were “not particularly large”.  The property had previously been sale agreed but the purchaser had withdrawn.  A standard financial statement was submitted when the previous restructuring arrangements were put in place but the lender now deemed the borrower to be ‘non-cooperative’ under the CCMA.  No repayments had been made since January 2015.  The Country Registrar suggested that something may have changed in January of this year given the “significant payments” made in 2014.  The case was adjourned to the 16th of December.

As is usual the cases were heard very quickly and the session lasted just over 90 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. Brendan BurgessFriday, July 24, 2015

    Hi Séamus

    Very interesting.

    This really is a disgrace:

    "In one such a case a borrower had made no repayments since 2010 and had accumulated arrears of more than €48,000. The borrower said their circumstances had changed and hoped that things could improve. The case was adjourned to the 26th of October."

    I would classify "adjourned generally" as struck out. It means that the borrower and lender have reached an agreement. If the borrower sticks to the agreement, then they won't be troubling the court again. It's the same as a strike out. If a case is struck out and the borrower stops paying, the lender begins legal proceedings again.

    I have never heard of an arrears case held in camera. Did they say why?

    Brendan Burgess