Being in mortgage arrears on your home is stressful. It can happen for many reasons outside your control. It can be incredibly stressful when you know that you are in mortgage arrears because something happened that pushed you off track. Perhaps you lost your job or had a period of ill health. Maybe it happened because of a relationship breakdown.
It is understandable that you might feel alone or that there is no help available, and we know this because we help people who feel the same way every day.
The good news is that there is help, and you are not alone. The services available through Abhaile are here to help. The people from Abhaile are experts at what they do. They have provided support to thousands of people in long term mortgage arrears—working with people in arrears to develop a permanent solution to tackle the issue and keep them in their homes.
This blog is the last in a series of 4 blogs. In the series, we shared information on each service and what to expect. The first blog was about the Dedicated Mortgage Arrears (DMA) service. The second was about the Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) Service, and the third was about the Court-based Supports. Today’s blog is about the Consultation Solicitor service.
So, let’s get into it.
Taking the First Step
The first step can often be the hardest, and we’re here to help. In today’s blog, we will be discussing the Consultation Solicitor services available across Ireland. By the end of this blog, you will better understand what they can do for you if you need legal advice.
The Consultation Solicitor Service
After completing either a Standard Financial Statement (SFS) or a Prescribed Financial Statement (PFS) with your DMA or PIP, they may advise you need legal advice.
Some cases can be more legally complicated than others or raise legal issues. Therefore, your DMA or PIP may recommend that you apply to receive legal advice from a Consultation Solicitor regulated by the Legal Aid Board (LAB).
Suppose your DMA or PIP thinks you need legal advice relating to your mortgage arrears. An example of this could be that your lender has written to you to begin legal proceedings to repossess your home. In that case, they will help you apply for a voucher for a free consultation with a solicitor.
Once you’ve obtained a voucher, you can choose a consultation solicitor from the Abhaile Panel, subject to availability. When you meet with your chosen solicitor (either online or in-person), they will ask for up-to-date documents such as your SFS/PFS and any other written financial advice you’ve received. They will then assess and explain your legal situation and advise you on any legal proceedings. They will also confirm the advice in writing, so don’t forget to ask for it.
It’s important that you don’t delay and use the voucher as soon as you receive it. The sooner you receive advice, the sooner you can work with the Abhaile supports towards negotiating an arrangement to keep your home.
In certain circumstances, if you are already in the legal process with your lender, your consultation solicitor may be able to negotiate for you to settle out of court.
Not sure if you need to consult with an Abhaile solicitor? Speak with your DMA from MABS or a PIP from the Abhaile panel, and they will help you decide. Don’t have a DMA or PIP yet, then keep reading for a brief explanation of each of these services and how you can apply for help from Abhaile.
The Dedicated Mortgage Arrears (DMA) Service
Under Abhaile, DMA advisers are available nationally through MABS. This, like all the services of Abhaile, is free to access. You will usually be referred to a DMA if you engage through the MABS Helpline (0818 07 2000), your local office, or by WhatsApp 086 035 3141.
The Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) Service
You may be eligible for a personal insolvency solution such as a PIA achieved with the support of a Personal Insolvency Practitioner or PIP. Your DMA will help you apply for a voucher for a consultation with a PIP.
Suppose you do not qualify for a PIP consultation or decide not to use the PIP service. In that case, your DMA adviser will work with you and your lender to agree on an informal resolution to your mortgage arrears.
On completion of your SFS, if your case has complex financial issues such as Revenue compliance or self-employment, then your DMA may help you apply for a voucher so that you can obtain further financial advice from an accountant.
The accountant will advise you on any financial issues relating to the resolution of your mortgage arrears. They will also advise you on possible solutions when you talk with them and confirm this in writing.
You can choose your accountant from the Abhaile accountants panel depending on who is available.
Don’t worry if you’ve attended court for the repossession of your home or received a letter with a court date. Abhaile has Court-based Supports – the Court Mentor and the Duty Solicitor. Both usually* are available for support on your court date. If you have a court date coming up and are working with MABS or a PIP, they will liaise with the court-based services to update them on your progress.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this series explaining the different services available through Abhaile. The other services are covered in more detail from the blog on the MABS website.
Did we miss something, or do you have some questions about Abhaile? Then follow @AbhaileInfo & Abhaile Mortgage Arrears on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to ask us a question.
If you are in mortgage arrears and fear you are at risk of losing your home, then call the MABS dedicated Helpline on 0818 07 2000, or find your local office to make an appointment.
Please note: This blog is provided to highlight a typical borrower journey through the different services and supports available under Abhaile. It does not constitute a legal interpretation of Abhaile or legal advice on relevant legislation. It should not be relied on as such.