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Bill on home repossession set for Parliament

The Minister of Justice Yvonne Dausab says the repealed High Court and Magistrate Legislative Bill will be tabled by the end of the year.

The Bill seeks to protect clients who default on their home loans and face bank repossession.

The amendments are being finalised pending the Attorney General's approval and inputs from the Bank of Namibia.

Dausab said the proposed amendments to the regulations intend to introduce additional safeguards, to allow beleaguered individuals to have room to make comfortable repayment conditions.

Current judicial oversight under Rule 108 of the High Court and Magistrate Acts, gives the court's power to grant an order of execution without really looking at other options.

Hence, the proposed Bill will certainly restore the dignity of homeowners, who default or fail to meet their mortgage payments, thus risking losing their houses due to relaxed conditions.

Dausab told The Brief that these legislative reforms will only cover primary homes, while other properties can be liable for repossession as deemed fit by courts or the banks. 

"The judicial oversight intended to mitigate the impact of banks having preferential rights to repossess homes if customers have defaulted or failed to meet the repayment obligation, thus we want to make meaningful changes. Through rule 108 applied in 2014, only the court decides whether or not a house, particularly a primary house should be repossessed or not," she said.

"What that means is since Rule 108 was introduced, a bank cannot under any circumstance execute any primary home before the court pronounces itself. We however, found that there was a limitation in that provision, in that it only allows the court to say the house is executable without going into details and providing additional orders that could be helpful to the particular client to address the problem they have with the bank.

"Clients must remember they have the obligation to pay back the loan, the intention and objective is to help you make better arrangements because as it stands the banks are quite tough on people. The aim is to avoid having a specific period of time, we want to allow the courts to use discretion as cases are also dealt with on different merits. Some use farms as primary homes, thus you cannot finalise paying off in a short period of time," she said.

Under the current circumstances, banks offer between three to six months in case of default payments.

Regarding the status, Dausab said the Ministry has undertaken all consultations with the public, home owners, and banks including the Bank of Namibia. She said the engagements were very crucial, especially with homeowners as they share their ordeals painting a real situation. 

"In addition, we are still waiting on feedback from the Bank of Namibia on specific aspects that they are regulating, remember commercial banks are subject to the regulatory mandate of BoN so they can’t just take decisions. In the meantime, we have put together that information, and engaged the Law Reform and Development Commission to fine tune the report," said the Minister.

In the same vein, she said they are waiting for the draft to be considered by the Cabinet Committee on Legislation, then it will be forwarded to the Attorney General for certification and hopefully before the end of the year, pass it to Parliament.

"We may however be delayed by the Financial Action Task Force recommendations that is working towards averting a potential greylisting, so in the National Assembly, 13 of them bills will be dealt with for the remainder of the session as priority and the rest of the other bills will take a back seat. Therefore, we hope to table our Bill before December," she said.

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Last modified on Thursday, 01 June 2023 19:04

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