Bahamas, March 28, 2017 – Nassau – It is a law proposal to level the playing field between home owners and their families and lending institutions which may be too hard-hearted, too heavy-handed and too biased to be fair.
Minister for Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Allyson Maynard Gibson yesterday presented in the Senate, the Home Owners Protection Bill, 2017 and while she admits it has been long in coming, the AG believes the legislation will end abuses and give hard working home owners and their families the time and consideration and conditions necessary for them to save their homes from foreclosure.
AG Maynard Gibson said 1,464 borrowers stood eligible to benefit from the landmark legislation, as she called it, and that 441 of them have already completed the requisite paper work to enroll in a mortgage relief program. The figures provided in the presentation were up to February and reflect, the Minister explained, the dire straits many Bahamian families find themselves in when it comes to bank foreclosure. The legislation not only gives the home owner, their spouse and even other family members more power to fight foreclosure but it bolsters the courts.
The Attorney General said the courts can now, “adjourn the proceedings; stay or suspend execution of the judgment or order; postpone the date for delivery of possession, for a maximum of six months.” The Court is now empowered to also activate payment plans.
The new Home Owners Protection Bill 2017 has met some push back from the banking sector, but the Minister says she is confident their consultation with the industry has brought fair middle ground and must consider the home owner who is often the aggrieved party when the family residence is taken and sold off.
Now, the sale of a home will be slower, more thoughtful, more fair and protected from banker biases. Identified by the Minister was the situation where institutions surreptitiously foreclose on homes well below market value so that their own relatives can buy the properties. All of that and more ends, said AG Allyson Maynard Gibson under this new Act once passed into law.