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“Clean the slate and start afresh” by Anthony Hartigan

At last, some sense from the Financial Institutions of Ireland! The story attached below broke in the Sunday Independent over the weekend was at least a sign that the current attitude toward stressed mortgage holders cannot continue.

Under the current system, individuals who are in negative equity must repay the balance of any shortfall should they sell their house or the buy-to-let that they had invested in during the boom.

This new direction is being led by Permanent TSB and would allow families and individuals to effectively clean the slate and start afresh. The major problem, however, is the fact that all assets must be sold in order to avail of the write-down and would include the Family home – a situation most are trying to avoid.

Credit to Permanent TSB though, at the least this option circumvents the need for the overly-complicated Personal Insolvency options which could leave applicants tied to a strict living style for up to 6 years depending on the severity of the arrangement. It should also provide an alternative for anyone looking to declare Bankruptcy – this on the back of figures from the CSO stating that the number of cases has increased since the inception of the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) opened its doors last year. A total of 66 cases in quarter 1 of 2014 – to put this in perspective, the total number for 2009 was 15.

This increasing number of Bankruptcies in Ireland highlights the fact that the Insolvency Arrangements championed by the ISI are not providing the answers. It also doesn’t help when those charged with providing the service as a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) are considering handing back their licenses due to perceived flaws in the legislation which provides banks and lending institutions with veto power in most cases. It is therefore difficult to get arrangements off the ground when no matter how much work is done by a PIP, the ultimate decision remains with the lender.

This is, at least, a step in the right direction but as positive as this may seem, I don’t think people will go running in the streets for joy as it does ignore the plight of those with family homes they want to keep but are struggling to make ends meet.


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