Hi folks, I was issued with a civil bill for possession of my home in early January and to attend court this morning with regard to outstanding arrears on my mortgage. I have been using the OO process for 3 and a half years now paying the mortgage company with small but regular consistent payments. I realised that it was not the maximum I could pay after living costs so I upped it in January this year to €25/week from €20/month. I received a letter from the mortgage co. in the meantime stating that this was not an "appropriate arrangement" and that they would still be pursuing possession despite the fact they accepted my new payments. I returned it stating that I was happy with the new offer and although they may deem it not "appropriate" they still accepted my payments.
Anyway, I arrived in court this morning and it was quite interesting. I told the county registrar that I was on a widowers pension of €193/week and that there was no way for me to pay full mortgage and that I was
making regular consistent payments for over 3 years and recently upped it last month. The registrar then asked the solicitor why this fact was omitted from the affidavit which caused the solicitor to shuffle his papers in confusion and shrug his shoulders! He then asked me had the mortgage co. accepted my offer and I replied that they had as they accepted my payments for a long time before resorting to court action without notifying me. I also stated that my intent was honourable and that there is evidence of continued performance on the contract.
The registrar acknowledged this but said the arrears are considerable and advised me to seek the services of the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) which is recognised by the court which could allow me to stay in my home for up to 6-7 years while a Personal Insolvency Advisor (PIA) negotiates the debt and that I pay them whatever I can afford after reasonable living costs including an excess of €60/per month. I already completed a budget expense form and I fall into this category and is much the same as my OO so there is no extra burden on me.
So it looks like the OO works folks and it is certainly a good initial first step to staying in your homes. But it seems that the courts would like to see people go down their "official route" of going to a PIA who will then liaise with the court and the creditor and put a stop to any further proceedings as long as the new agreement is adhered to.
The case was adjourned to April 13th.
Any comments or input on this would be appreciated. Are the ISI to be trusted or is this another ruse? I got the feeling from the registrar that he understood my position and was willing to offer this advice. He certainly did not come across as pompous and threatening and was not the type to throw people from their homes without exploring all options first.
So all in all it went pretty well and was not nerve wracking at all and if you apply the OO judges will engage and side with you at least to buy more time. So this is a great solution that I would thoroughly recommend for anyone in mortgage difficulties.
Again any comments would be appreciated.