Since the introduction of the Insolvency Act 2012, there has been much commentary on the new regime and its accessibility to those burdened by large amounts of debt. One of the main issues about insolvency arrangements is the ability of banks to block people from entering into an Insolvency Arrangement.
The Bank has been a source of much complaint since the introduction of the Act and the Government has recently responded to these concerns.
What Was The Position Before Last Week?
The Personal Insolvency Act 2012 was signed into law on St.Stephen’s Day 2012 and since then various officials have been appointed and offices opened, legislation was introduced, judges were appointed in order to deal with it, and statutory changes were introduced.
The Act introduced Arrangements for Dealing with personal insolvency:
- Debt Settlement Arrangement (DSA)- This process allows for the agreed settlement of unsecured debt with one or more creditors. This Settlement can be arranged to last over a period of 5 years, with a possible extension to 6 years.
- Personal insolvency Arrangement (PIA) – This process provides for the agreed settlement of secured debt up to €3 million and an unlimited amount of unsecured debt. this settlement runs for a period of 6 years with a possible extension to 7 years.
- Bankruptcy- was available before the introduction of the Act and allows for the agreed settlement of unsecured and secured assets over a period of 3 years.
There has been a very slow uptake on these arrangements; the bank veto has been stressed by many as a significant barrier to the overall success of the regime.
What is The Big Change?
On Wednesday the 13th May 2015, the Government announced a removal of the Veto as part of its new package to deal with Mortgage arrears.
The proposed changes would allow an option for the Court to review the Arrangement and overturn the Bank Veto.
Referred to as “a critical component of the package”, the Government hopes that this change will get the new Regime moving and help people to get back to solvency. This is a system which is parallel to that of bankruptcy.
What Steps Can People Take To Become Solvent Again?
Being Burdened with debt is an extremely stressful situation and people have been struggling with this stress for too long.
The First port of call for those who are insolvent, meaning they cannot meet their debts as they fall due, is to contact a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) who will assess their situation and advise on which arrangement, if any, would be suitable.
one of the first things a PIP will do is get a Protective Certificate which will put a stop to those letters, calls and threats.
A detailed plan is put in place to deal with the situation, setting out the financial framework which will bring the individual back to solvency.
Noisy Neighbours we have gotten in a listener query about noisy neighbours and the options available when you are trying to live a peaceful life but the people next door are making this difficult. if people find themselves in this situation what can they do?
The reality of life unfortunately is that you cannot choose your neighbours and this is a situation that I think most people would dread to a certain extent
Always knock on the Door and Speak to your Neighbour asking them to tone it down a bit. As a mediator I always recommend that if a solution can be found by agreement you are always better off in every way –cost wise, time wise and bearing in mind also that you will have to continue to live beside these people into the future so I would always try to reach an agreement if at all possible.
What If You Get No Co-Operation?
If you don’t get any satisfaction you can always consult a solicitor and ask the solicitor to write a letter to them and if they are rent paying tenants also send the solicitor’s letter to the landlord. In your letter it would be wise to outline the steps you have already taken to resolve the issue and the response you received.
With an apartment complex or gated community you can consult the management company because in all title documents there are covenants & agreements to say that occupiers of a property will not cause a nuisance to others.
You could also call the Gardaí but in the case of a gated community or apartment complex they have limited powers. If the noise is not disturbing people on the street then a public nuisance is not being created so they cannot intervene.
There is also the option of going to the local authority if it is a local authority house.
Can You Take A Court Action If Matters Cannot Be Resolved?
As a last resort you could go to the District Court and swear out a nuisance summons. The first question you would be asked by a judge in those circumstances is whether you had exhausted all other options.
The legislation governing this area is Section 108 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 and The Environmental Protection Agency Act (Noise) Regulations 1992.
I always advise to get other disaffected neighbours to join you if you decide to go to court as there is strength in numbers.
Relief can also be sought from the Private Residential tenancies Board (PRTB) in the case of noise being caused in private rented accommodation. The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 imposes minimum statutory obligations on landlords and tenants of private residential tenancies.
Tenants have an obligation under the act not to engage in anti-social behaviour and it imposes an obligation on landlords to enforce the tenant obligations. There is also provision in the act for third parties who are adversely affected by a failure on the part of a landlord to enforce tenant obligations to refer a complaint to the PRTB in accordance with the procedures set out in the Act.
The PRTB also has sophisticated methods for resolution available. There is an online telephone mediation system, a conciliation system and a Quasi-judicial method for resolution.
What Kind Of Behaviour Would Be Considered Bad Enough For This?
Just because you can hear your neighbours or they occasionally play loud music, does not offend the regulations. You will have to show that the noise was “so loud, so continuous, so repeated and of such a duration or pitch or occurring at such times that it gives you reasonable cause for annoyance”.
A log of incidents of noise and copies of correspondence will help you to prove that this was the case. Evidence is a key factor in those sort of cases.
The court if it agrees with you has power to order the offending party to abate the noise or cease it. The court can apply penalties, including fines for non-compliance.