Turn Up In Court And Fight For Your Home, Or The Bank Will Take It!

At a seminar this week for mortgage-holders in distress, The Hub-Ireland, an expert group campaigning to stop evictions, urged anyone facing possession proceedings to turn up in court and fight the banks. “There are many defences you can use,” said Byron Jenkins, “but you must show up. If you don’t, the bank automatically gets your house, because a ‘no-show’ is considered ‘consent’. A court Registrar has no power to take your home without your consent, but most people don’t know that.
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Turn Up In Court And Fight For Your Home, Or The Bank Will Take It!The banks are depending on your being too afraid to turn up and fight them. That is how you end up giving them your home.” The seminar was called Dispelling the Fear, and was designed to cure the hopelessness that people feel when they get notice of possession proceedings and believe there is nothing they can do but accept ‘the inevitable’. “It is not ‘the inevitable’,” said Jenkins, “there is a lot of misinformation around, and very few people will tell you your rights and give you the tools you need to fight to keep your home.
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But at The Hub-Ireland, we will. Unlike some others, we have no vested interest, we are a voluntary, self-help group and we tell it like it is. We empower people to use the law to their own advantage in order to keep their homes wherever possible, or for as long as possible.” Jenkins was joined by three other speakers, Martina Doyle, also from The Hub-Ireland, Catherine Aherne, who worked closely with The Hub-Ireland to fight eviction proceedings and who is now mortgage-free as a result, and Miriam Freeman, one of the most experienced and knowledgeable lay litigants in the country.
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Jenkins explained the Circuit Court process, the rules and regulations governing the courts, what powers the Registrars and Judges have and what defences are available to all home-owners who show up in court, regardless of the level of their arrears, or how insurmountable their situation may seem. Examples were given of how the banks are submitting incorrect and even misleading paperwork into the courts, and are using a copy-and-paste system to process their cases in a conveyor-belt manner, in the full knowledge, that in most cases, the homeowner will not show up and challenge their faulty paperwork, upon which no possession order could be given, if correctly challenged. “Jaws were dropping when we told people what the banks are up to in the courts,” said Jenkins.
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He believes they are getting away with it because no one is holding the banks accountable and what is really happening in the courts goes largely unreported by a timid and indifferent media which has failed in its reportage of the entire bank-and-mortgage story that has been unfolding since prior to the economic crash. “This goes right back to the establishment of the IFSC by Charlie Haughey,” he said, “if anyone cared to investigate, they would find in that, the seeds of today’s onslaught against the Irish people by the banks.” As a result of the lack of rigorous, interrogative journalism, resulting in a narrow band of ‘permitted discussion’ in public discourse, the banks have a free run in the courts and elsewhere, while those in power, and in-the-know, look the other way, while financial institutions commence their program of mass-evictions upon the Irish people.
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Jenkins was followed by Miriam Freeman, who gave an inspiring talk based on her extensive experience of fighting the banks through the courts, which she described as a journey of personal growth and empowerment that saw her go from a trembling, terrified woman on her first day in court, to the confident, assertive litigant she is today. She told the audience that as litigants-in-person, they have an advantage when representing themselves, in that nobody knows their case better than they do, and they should harness this knowledge and use it to fight for their homes. “The best case manager is you; only you truly know your case,” she said.
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Ms Freeman then explained various defences that can be used by home-owners, resulting from wrongdoing by the banks in their dealings with customers, sometimes even prior to any mortgage default having arisen.
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The next speaker was Catherine Aherne, who spoke about how she fought the banks and won in court. Her bank’s case collapsed when she, as a self-represented litigant, with no previous training in law, did some in-depth research on her mortgage with the help of The Hub-Ireland, and discovered that the Mortgage company had sold her loan to another legal entity—the debt they were claiming from her, had already been paid. She was able to prove that the bank had no original documents on which to bring a case against her, because the originals had gone! no case.
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However, she emphasised, had she not shown up in court and challenged the bank, she would certainly have lost her home. She urged all homeowners to do what she did, and not to take the bank’s case at face value.
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The last speaker was Martina Doyle, of The Hub-Ireland, who deals every day with the psychological distress suffered by mortgage-holders under threat by the banks. She spoke movingly of the widespread family breakdown that occurs as a direct result of the behaviour of mortgage-companies and gave a startling statistic: “Sixty per cent of the families that come to The Hub–Ireland are now single-parent families—the banks broke them,” she said. In a speech that brought tears of emotion to some in the audience, Ms Doyle urged those being threatened with eviction to take special care of their mental health by not forgetting the important things in life—family and friends. “Don’t let a corrupt system, that of the banks, take away all that is most precious to you. Remember, no matter how bad things are, these are days and years of your life that you will never have again, so cherish them, and cherish those near and dear to you, no matter what the bank is trying to do to you.
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The Hub-Ireland is here to help and support everybody who wishes to fight the banks and save their homes,” she said. As a result of the positive feedback form members of the audience, The Hub-Ireland is planning to run more seminars in the future.
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“It was nothing short of inspirational. The depth of knowledge was amazing and gave me strength,” said one of the attendees afterwards.
“I had a lot of ‘jaw dropping ‘ moments. I walked away with a lot of hope, lots of food for thought and I am so grateful for all the speakers giving up their time to help people in crisis,” said another attendee.
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The Hub-Ireland is a voluntary, self-help community organisation that offers free help, support and information to homeowners who are in danger of eviction from their homes by mortgage companies.
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It has launched a campaign to have the Evictions Courts abolished and asks for the public to support the initiative. It invites anyone in mortgage distress to contact them at info@thehub-ireland.com or phone 01 534 9118.

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