FLAC attends Committee scrutiny of No Consent, No Sale Bill, 2019.
18 April 2019
The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and Taoiseach will hear today from legal rights group FLAC in relation to the detailed scrutiny of the private members No Consent, No Sale Bill, 2019.
In their opening statement and submissions on the Bill to the Committee, FLAC expressed its support for the intention behind the draft Bill at a time when it is clear that many borrowers in financial difficulty are very fearful of the consequences of their mortgage being sold on to a fund.
FLAC also called for legal protections to be enhanced for consumers whose loans have already been sold to funds and called into question the suggestion that those purchasing these loans will honour the existing payment arrangements that borrowers had with the original lender. FLAC does not share the view of the Central Bank on the effectiveness of the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears in the context of a sale of loans.
At the Committee hearing Eilis Barry, FLAC Chief Executive highlighted the need for human rights impact assessments to identify and address the potential and cumulative impact of legislative measures on specific individuals and groups, and criticised the lack of attention to human rights and equality standards from the previous presentations made by the Central Bank and the Department of Finance on the Bill.
Ms Barry stated:
“We have very little information about the circumstances of people in long-term arrears Can the Central Bank and the Department of Finance state with accuracy, based on qualitative and quantitative disaggregated data, what is the likely effect on borrowers of allowing creditors to sell to vulture funds without further regulation. Has there been any assessment as to the likelihood of borrowers being exposed to acute deprivation such as homelessness or extreme poverty?”
In reference to previous suggestions that this Bill was likely to be unconstitutional FLAC Senior Policy Analyst Paul Joyce emphasised that the terms in mortgage contracts that lenders rely upon to sell on loans are not brought to the attention of the borrowers when the loan is being arranged and the borrower‘s view is never sought by lenders prior to sale.
Mr Joyce stated:
“There are issues surrounding this Bill in terms of balancing the property rights of lenders with the public interest, but it is the job of the courts to decide whether legislation is constitutional and the Committee and the Oireachtas will decide whether they get that opportunity.”
Notes for Editors:
About FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres):
- FLAC is a human rights organisation which exists to promote equal access to justice. As an NGO, FLAC relies on a combination of statutory funding, contributions from the legal professions and donations from individuals and grant-making foundations to support its work.
- FLAC offers basic legal information through its telephone information line (1890 350 250) and free legal advice through its network of volunteer evening advice centres – more at www.flac.ie/help/.
- FLAC is an Independent Law Centre that takes on cases where this is in the public interest. FLAC also campaigns on a range of issues, including consumer credit, personal debt, fairness in social welfare law, public interest law and civil legal aid. FLAC operates the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA) which seeks to engage the legal community and civil society in using the law to advance social change.
- Please find all our Submissions to the Committee on our website at the links below
- Opening Statement to the Committee
- FLAC Submission to JOC Finance on No Consent, No Sale Bill 2019
- Supplementary Submission to the Committee
The No Consent, No Sale Bill 2019, proposed by Pearse Doherty TD seeks to provide that Lenders may not transfer mortgages on residential property without the consent of the borrower and to provide for related matters
Issued: Thursday, 18th April 2019.