An analysis of mortgage possession cases listed by the Courts Service last year finds that almost half (46%) were taken by the main banks, including AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and KBC.

About a third of cases were taken by investment funds and a further 20% by Permanent TSB. 

The report, published by the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway, asserts that Covid-19 will result in a new round of mortgage arrears and states that "many of the challenges of the last decade will re-emerge".

However, the report notes there are many more legal and regulatory protections for mortgage holders in place now than at the start of the financial crisis.

The report collates a sample of 12,650 mortgage possession cases listed by the Courts Service between April and December 2019.

It says it is not possible to track what happens to these cases, but that most do not end up with a possession order.

In the last complete year for which there are statistics, it finds that in 2018 some 700 possession orders were granted by the courts.

It also finds that only a quarter of borrowers had any sort of listed legal representation.

It says research has shown there are many vulnerable family groups in mortgage arrears and there is an "absence of a gender dimension" in reports from State agencies.

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The CEO Irish Mortgage Holders Association has called for a 12 month moratorium on house re-possessions in light of Covid-19, because he said people will not know if they are going to return to employment, they do not know on what terms they are going to return or whether they will be on their full salary. 

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sarah McInerney, David Hall said there is going to be great difficulty in relation to mortgage arrears post Covid-19 and he advised against "unreasonable repossessions.

He said the banks' "obsessive compulsive disorder in relation to suspicions about customers trying to game the system and their obsession about not writing off debt have caused untold damage, carnage to society, to many families and many lives around the country". 

Mr Hall also called for the Mortgage Code of Conduct to be put on a statutory footing rather than a voluntary one, which currently exists. 

He said 85,000 mortgages have been re-structured, but many of these have been parked on a shelf and when it comes to retirement age, there is going to be a big difficulty around evictions.

He said some of the solutions referred to this in code cost the banks nothing. 

Mr Hall added that he was disappointed that the Central Bank had not stood up a bit more and been more prominent on the issue of repossessions.