Archive for January, 2016

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND BANKRUTCY CHANGES – ABOUT TIME!

Bell & Company have commented regularly on Personal Bankruptcy in Northern Ireland. It can prove to be a useful tool for borrowers whose debts are so significant that there is no route to negotiate with lenders. Providing the Client’s circumstances align, Personal Bankruptcy can “clear the decks” and the individual can start again. We regularly assist individuals going through Personal Bankruptcy in Northern Ireland.

Conversely, the Bankruptcy Legislation in Republic of Ireland has been complex for some time. Under the previous Legislation those declared Bankrupt where held in Bankruptcy for 3 years and a possible Income Payment Order would last 5 years. Speaking from our experiences in the Republic of Ireland a lack of suitable Personal Bankruptcy options has meant many borrowers who have defaulted on financial products for some time have not been able to proceed with Bankruptcy.

Furthermore, those who had no option but to go Bankrupt have found it very difficult to recover given they are declared Bankrupt for 3 years!

The new Legislation in the Republic of Ireland brings about the following key changes:
1. Reduced duration of Bankruptcy to 1 year. However, the term will be extended for non-cooperation or concealment by Bankrupt individuals.
2. Maximum duration of Payment Order has now been reduced to 3 years. Again non-cooperating or Bankrupt individuals concealing information will find this term extended.
3. Bankruptcy Fees have been reduced greatly.
4. The Act allows for Automatic re-vestment of the home in the discharged Bankrupt 3 years after the Bankruptcy adjudication, if the Official Assignee has not sold it (or applied for a Court order to do so) within that period. (Section 8)
5. The Process has been streamlined removing the additional Statutory Court Sitting.
Other changes have also been made to prevent “Bankruptcy Tourism’” to Northern Ireland and make Bankruptcy a more accessible option for individuals heavily indebted with no other option.
The Bankruptcy (Amendment) Act 2015, was signed into law on 25 December 2015 with the new changes are expected to commence early this year.

The Independent Insolvency team at Bell & Company are working to fully understand the ramifications and changes under the new Legislation so we can give the best advice to those in the Republic of Ireland who need to consider Personal Bankruptcy. The team also intend to travel to Dublin to meet Insolvency Service Ireland (ISI) to discuss the changes further.

If you are feeling under pressure from debt and do not know how to approach your debt burden than please call Bell & Company today on 02895 217373. Our team can discuss Corporate Debt, Secured Debt, Unsecured Debt and offer independent insolvency advice tailored to your circumstances. We look forward to welcoming you at our office for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.

IRISH PROPERTY MARKET OVERVIEW AND RECENT SETTLEMENT

We have all seen the headlines in the past summarising Ireland’s economic demise, headlines read “Fall of the Celtic Tiger” and “Europe’s Austerity Experiment”. However, despite times of hardship Ireland’s economy is turning a corner and over 2014 and 2015 we saw positive economic growth and also the return of increasing house prices.

In 2014 we saw double digit property price increases but in 2015 this reduced to 6.54% and in Dublin price rises slowed significantly to 3.35%.  This slowdown is likely to have been caused by changes made by the Central Bank in controlling lending. Their efforts are attempting to minimise the reckless lending practices seen pre-crisis. Changes include:

Some experts have expressed concerns of another property bubble in Dublin. There is a significant shortage of properties in the capital. This is likely due to higher VAT on new properties and the simple fact that building properties is more expensive than the sales price a developer would receive. It will be worth keeping an eye on developments in Dublin but cooling prices will ease concerns slightly.

Ireland’s housing boom. Source: OECD

The outlook for Irish property prices is positive we will continue to see small increases over the next year. However, given the magnitude of decline previous many home owners will still be blighted by Negative Equity.

With the impending changes to the Irish Bankruptcy bill we expect the see many borrowers in arrears with unsustainable mortgage products and suffering negative equity utilise the new Bankruptcy protocol. It is a less harsh system and is a realistic option and will allow Banks defaulted loan books to move forward.

Finally, we are happy to report that Bell & Company’s Resolution team achieved a fantastic result with a core Irish lender last week. A couple had a significant shortfall of over c€100,000 on a buy-to-let property in Co. Cavan and this was settled on a Full & Final basis for €8,500.

If you have a property in Negative Equity in Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland or mainland UK then please call us today on +44 (0)2895 217373 to arrange your free initial consultation. Our advisers are happy to host you here at Rosemary Street in Belfast City Centre or can travel given suitable notice. We look forward to hearing from you.

Terry Bell

Real Issues In Today’s financial World- Derry/Londonderry

See below.

Powered by Eventbrite

IS LONDON NEXT TO GO?

London is an incredibly diverse city and is proving a very desirable place for people to purchase a property. However, prices continue to soar in the city and suburbs which has led to Chancellor George Osbourne being put under pressure to present ideas allowing first-time buyers and those not on a high-end salary to get onto the Property Ladder.

A couple of figures to ponder:

Outer boroughs and commuter towns are now seeing annual price increases in double-digit percentages. Previously unheard of!

400,000 NEW homes?

Despite the incredibly high prices, demand for property in the Capital continues to soar and is outstripping supply despite recent Government pledges to build over 400,000 new homes.

One reason first-time buyers can get on the property ladder is by utilising the Help to Buy scheme and only paying down a 5% deposit. This coupled with cheap mortgages due to historically low-interest rates have allowed people with the average salary of £30,000pa to get onto the ladder.

Although people can buy a house in London, their salaries are not keeping up with prices. Therefore, those still looking to get on the property ladder will increasingly struggle to buy a home. But the gap between earnings and house prices suggest that the London property bubble could burst at any minute if there are any big shifts in interest rates. If these first-time buyers are fuelling the market there is a concern once rates do rise then mortgage payments simply become unsustainable.

UBS’ property price index which measures inflation is reportedly flashing red in London and cites that of all the world’s major cities, London is perhaps the most likely to see a bubble burst. UBS cites low-interest rates and cheap mortgages as fuelling the boom and that historically when prices increase at this rate there has been a correction.

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM BELL & COMPANY

We are back at Bell & Company HQ on Rosemary Street and geared up for a fantastic 2016.

From all of the team here we sincerely wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope that 2016 will be a successful and prosperous year for you.

From our stand point 2016 looks incredibly exciting. We have many cases for our Resolution, Corporate and Insolvency departments to finalise and complete excellent settlements. We also have a lot of enquiries from potential client’s so early in the year.

There are other external factors we are monitoring also.  This year we anticipate an interest rate rise. When? Who knows! There are so many conflicting reports. We would advise homeowners with mortgages and those with high levels of unsecured credit to consider how much loan repayment increases will affect their income and expenditure on a monthly basis.

The housing market continues to recover, albeit very slowly. Rises seem to be Belfast centric, this is something we will monitor but increases are not rapid enough to assist those in high levels of negative equity.

The Corporate Department are keeping a close eye on Investment Funds such as Cerberus and Lonestar and their increasing activity in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. We have an exciting meeting coming up later this month and this could be defining for dealing with these overseas loan book purchasers.

As always, should you or anyone you know require Independent Insolvency Advice then please call Bell & Company on +44 (0) 2895 217373 today. Our first initial consultation is free so we look forward to welcoming you to Rosemary Street for tea, coffee and a chat about resolving your debt burden.

Fill in your contact details for free advice:

By accepting you agree to Bell & Company contacting you to discuss debt solutions