One of the most frustrating types of person I have met since the great Irish property crash in 2007 is the person struggling with debts who will clutch at any straw to believe there is a simple solution.
And there has been a significant number of individuals who are happy to peddle a concoction of legal mumbo jumbo and snake oil to the desperate borrower struggling with, in many cases, unsustainable debt.
“It’s not your fault”
It all starts with a simple but beguiling assertion: “It’s not your fault”.
This is tremendously powerful. Tell anyone who is struggling with a problem for years that it’s not their fault, that they have been beating themselves up all this time needlessly, and a good many people will happily accept this proposition.
Once they do they are further persuaded by the pointing of the finger at others for the problem. Politicians? Bankers? Property developers? The Central Bank? The EU? German banks? Take your pick.
Pseudo legal mumbo jumbo
Then the charlatan provides the solution. It may be based on some misguided, misconceived version of a half baked idea with a passing acquaintance with a law from hundreds of years ago or it may be a concoction of pseudo legal mumbo jumbo that has as much legal substance or validity as snow disappearing off a hedge.
The underlying arguments may be based on ideology, political views, morality, philosophy but the problem with these arguments is a simple one: when the case comes before a Judge or the County Registrar the issues will be settled by recourse to the law of the land.
And there is a fundamental inescapable problem facing borrowers: the mortgage contract or agreement. This contract will provide that the lender will advance the money to the borrower and the borrower will repay it, failing which certain steps will be taken to enforce the security/charge on the borrower’s property.
No amount of pseudo legal gibberish will sidestep these fundamental terms of the mortgage agreement.
And the sooner the borrower recognises this, the sooner he might arrive at a solution or deal. He may also avoid needless legal costs on a course of action that is bound to fail when it is tested in court.
There are solutions available, don’t get me wrong. But those solutions are not to be found in half baked faux legal ideas smeared with a veneer of pseudo legal respectability. This is the equivalent of holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” and hoping it will go away. It won’t.
You need to, as Uriah Heep’s mother exhorted him in David Copperfield, “Uri, Uri, make terms”. In plain language, doing a deal may be the best option in the long run, and this will depend on the particular circumstances of the case.
But one thing is certain: relying on fake made up law and pseudo legal jargon will only make matters worse.