Since the introduction of the Personal Insolvency Act, 2012 the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) has expressed disappointment at the number of people availing of the arrangements under the legislation to get themselves out of insolvent situations. With this in mind, the Insolvency Service of Ireland has recently met with various interested parties including debtors, Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIPS) including those practising in this office and banks to discuss the best way forward in ensuring that people will avail of the arrangements under Act.
It has been correctly pointed out by the ISI that there is a perception that the cost of entering into any of these arrangements is prohibitively expensive. This is borne out by the fact that under the legislation and subsequent regulations, fees were put in place in order to make an application for any of the reliefs. For example, the fee for making an application for a Debt Relief Notice (DRN) was €100, €200 for a Debt Settlement Arrangement (DSA) and €500 for a Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA). As and from Tuesday the 7th October until the end of 2015, the ISI is waiving any current application fees. However, any fee paid to the ISI before the 7th October, 2014 will not be refunded. This is of course with a view to encouraging more and more debtors to come forward and avail of the arrangements under the legislation and consult with PIPS.
The ISI has engaged in extensive research as to why people are not availing of the services under the Personal Insolvency Act, 2012 and some of the reasons put forward are as follows;
- A commitment by individuals to finding their own way out of debt rather than seeking help.
- Lack of awareness of the practical help including the availability of PIPS.
- A belief that insolvency solutions were for more extreme cases than their own.
- A lack of awareness of the ISI and the range of solutions.
In order to become more aware of what is available to you if you are in a debt situation, a visit to the website www.backontrack.ie is a must. This contains information videos and individual stories of people who have gone through the insolvency process successfully.
Interestingly, the ISI has released its quarter 3 statistical reports for 2014 and the total debt involved of the approximately 1,200 cases currently with the ISI is almost €520,000,000. 43% of this debt is in respect of principal private residence mortgages and 31% is in respect of buy to let mortgages. 13% is attributable to financial institution debt outside of mortgage debt while 3.9% represents trade creditors and 2.3% credit union debt.
Other debt includes personal guarantees, utilities, store cards/catalogues and professional fees.
For anyone considering their options in a debt situation, I would advise that you visit the following two websites and seek the necessary help www.backontrack.ie and www.pipsolutions.ie where our qualified PIPS will be able to assist you.