The Abhaile Scheme, Debt & Mortgage Arrears during the Covid-19 crisis
Mortgage and Debt matters owing to the Covid-19 Crisis.
The following is not intended as legal advice. It is intended to provide practical information as to how to approach mortgage and debt difficulties during the current crisis. If you require legal advice you should consult a solicitor.
The Covid-19 situation has meant that many people have had a change in employment status, be it reduced income or being made unemployed. You should take action as soon as possible if your financial circumstances change impacting on your ability to pay your mortgage or other creditors. You should be proactive in notifying creditors if you are unable to make full payments because of a change in circumstances. If you and an ex-partner are jointly responsible for mortgage or other payments and either of you have had a change in circumstances resulting in financial difficulties, again you both should be proactive in notifying creditors.
The Central Back of Ireland has stated that people who may be experiencing issues as a result of the impact of COVID-19 must be provided with whatever reasonable arrangements and/or assistance may be necessary and it further states that all of the existing protections for customers who face actual or potential financial difficulties continue to apply. One such measure introduced during this crisis has been the availability of a 3 month moratorium on mortgage payments to support those affected by the crisis. Again, it is important to engage with your creditor as soon as possible in order to apply for any of these mechanisms. Engaging with support services such a MABS may assist also you in managing your debt and household budget and can offer services under the Abhaile scheme if your circumstances require them.
The Abhaile scheme is designed to help borrowers who are insolvent and at risk of losing their homes, to get the help they need as quickly and effectively as possible. Aid and advice provided under the Scheme are provided free of charge to eligible borrowers. While the scheme has been in operation for some time, and is not specific to the Covid-19 crisis, your circumstances owing to the crisis or in general might mean the scheme could be of assistance to you. MABS, the money advice and budgeting service have details of how to avail of services available through the scheme on their website.
Existing Abhaile Clients
If you have been issued with a MABS voucher to see one of our Abhaile Consultation Solicitors and you are unable to use it at the moment owing to the current restrictions on movement, etc, you should note that this voucher is valid for 3 months from the date of issue. If you have any queries however, you can contact the issuing MABS office / MABS Advisor.
If you have made an application for legal aid in relation to a court review of a proposal personal insolvency agreement our Abhaile team is continuing to process applications. We will work with your Personal Insolvency Practitioner in relation to anything we need in order to make a decision on your application and we will communicate this decision to you once we have made it.
If you are in receipt of civil legal aid in relation to a court review of a proposal personal insolvency agreement, you should contact your Personal Insolvency Practitioner or your Abhaile solicitor if you are seeking updates specific to your proceedings. However, in general terms you should note that personal insolvency hearings in the courts, in line with many other types of court proceedings, have been generally postponed for the moment. This also applies to applications for Protective Certificates, but again, your Personal Insolvency Practitioner can give you an update specific to your application.
We have included some useful links to other organisations here, many of which are giving lots of useful information on how to deal with debt matters during the Covid-19 crisis.
- MABS, the Money Advice and Budgeting Service is maintaining a live blog on debt issues owing to the crisis on their website along with details of their services.
- FLAC have a number of useful FLACsheets on this topic including Employment Law rights during Covid-19 outbreak, Borrowers rights during the Covid-19 outbreak and Social Welfare Support during the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Facebook - if you have access to Facebook the Abhaile Mortgage Arrears facebook page is posting lots of useful information at present that may assist you.