Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Repossession cases adjourned in April coming around again

There are 90 cases listed for hearing on the Cork County Registrar’s Civil Possession list today.  Of the cases listed most of them have been tracked at previously attended sittings back in April and were adjourned to today’s sitting.  Two of the sessions were summarised here. The reasons the cases were adjourned to today’s date are:

  • 5 were adjourned to allow a motion to change the name of applicant be submitted (mostly because the loan was sold to another party).
  • 26 were adjourned because alternative repayment arrangements were either in place or under negotiation.
  • 3 were adjourned because the respondent(s) had not been formally served notice of the legal proceedings in advance of the previous sitting.
  • 39 were adjourned under the practice direction of the circuit court where all legal proceedings involving homes are adjourned on their first appearance in court.
  • 11 of the cases were adjourned even though the bank sought to proceed with the application for the final possession order but had the case adjourned against their wishes.

The outcomes will be updated here later today with the 11 cases where the lenders previously sought final possession orders of particular note.

UPDATE:  Today’s session actually had 97 cases (as opposed to the 90 listed) and was completed in around two hours.

There were issues relating to the formal service of the legal proceedings to the borrowers in the seven cases added and two of the listed cases so these could not proceed.  There were two non-mortgage possession cases on the list so we are left with 86, all of which are in the previous outcomes listed above.

Eight of 86 cases heard were struck out.  It is not always stated why this action is taken.  Sometimes it is because the property has been sold or voluntarily surrendered and the repossession proceedings must end.  In a few cases today proceedings were struck out because of issues of jurisdiction (i.e. the Murphy judgement).  It is rare to hear of a case being struck out because repayments have resumed.  There are many cases where payments are being made and if these are as agreed such cases are usually adjourned to a later date or, in some cases, adjourned generally with liberty to re-enter which is akin to being struck out.

Of the remaining 78 cases the borrowers were absent from the court in 59 cases with the borrower present and/or represented in 19 cases.  The legal representatives of the banks sought adjournments in 58 cases for various reasons while there were 20 cases where they wished to proceed with their application for the final order for possession. Ten possession orders were granted and these are summarised below.

Orders Granted 29-07-15

None of the orders granted were contested.  Three of the cases were where the bank wished to proceed the last time the case was listed but it was adjourned. These included the one case with an order granted where the borrower was present today (#2 above). This borrower consented to the order and argued for the stay to be reduced from three months to one month! 

There were two cases (#3 and #6) where the bank wished to proceed at the last hearing but had the case adjourned in the presence of the borrower.  For today’s hearing these borrowers were absent and the orders were granted.

Four of these cases had previously been adjourned as per the practice direction and three of them were adjourned on request by the lender.  The borrowers were not present on either occasion.

Five of the ten properties with orders granted against them are vacant.  In most of these cases no payments had been received for significant periods – up to five years.  No payments had been made on the mortgages for any of these vacant properties since 2011.

In one of the cases (#5 above) it can be seen that a payment was made as recently as this month and almost €2,600 was paid in 2015 (almost 40 per cent of the amount due).  Even though the arrears are almost €70,000 and equivalent to more than five years of the current monthly payment if the borrower was present in court this order would not have been granted.  A nine month stay was put on the order.

There were 10 other cases where the lenders wished to proceed to the final order for possession but the cases were adjourned.  In five of the cases this was the second occasion observed where the bank wished to proceed and the case was adjourned.  These cases are summarised below. [Click to enlarge]

Proceed-Adjourned Cases 29-07-15

Most of these cases have pretty substantial arrears and some have gone significant periods with no payments.  However, turning up in court and having some recent payments or indicating a capacity to make some repayments will likely result in an adjournment.  It is not clear that #10 above exhibited either of these.  Of course, an adjournment today does not mean there won’t be an order granted at the next sitting.

There were also three cases adjourned from previous sittings where the banks had sought a final order for possession at the last hearing but were looking for an adjournment at today’s sitting citing “resumed payments”, “talks on-going” and “engagement with borrower”.

So the summary of the 95 cases is:

  • 9 couldn’t proceed because service hadn’t been completed
  • 10 orders for possession were granted
  • 8 cases were struck out
  • 58 cases were adjourned by the lenders
  • 10 cases were adjourned by the County Registrar

UPDATE #2: The last hearing before the summer break took place on July 30th. Hearings will recommence in October!  There were 87 cases listed yesterday. The outcomes were:

  • 75 adjournments
    • 63 adjourned by the lenders
    • 12 adjourned by the (visiting) County Registrar
  • 6 cases were struck out
  • 6 orders for possession were granted.

There were 18 cases where the lenders wished to proceed with their application for an order for possession.  These are summarised in the table below.  They are divided between cases where the borrower was absent and cases where the borrower was present and/or represented.

It can be seen that orders were only granted against borrowers who were absent.  All borrowers who were presented or represented in court had their cases adjourned.  There were two cases adjourned where the lenders wished to proceed in spite of the borrower being absent.

Here are the details that were provided to the court. [Click to enlarge]

Cases Proceeded 30-07-2015

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