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New law seeks to empower mortgage borrowers
The Conveyancing and Mortgages Bill is the means by which the Government of T&T is showing its desire to correct deficiencies in the current commercial lending structure and to ensure that fair lending practices are the rule, says Clyde Weatherhead, advisor to the Minister of Legal Affairs.
“One of the key features of this Bill is the abolition of the current practice exercised by the institutional lenders of compelling prospective borrowers to have their conveyance mortgage transactions prepared by the lender’s attorneys-at-law. A simple borrower is left on his own to decipher the seemingly mysterious clauses of his mortage agreement. Surely a person ought to be entitled to retain his own attorney-at-law to advise him and look after his interest. This may also reduce the need for additional revision fees charged by the lender,” he said.
He added that it raises the question of whether lenders should dictate which attorneys-at-law, prospective borrowers can or cannot use to prepare their conveyances and mortgage documents. Weatherhead was speaking yesterday at the public consultation on the Conveyancing and Mortgages draft policy document, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Port-of-Spain.
Bernard Sylvester, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Legal Affairs, said the consultation is important for stakeholders who are actively involved in the mortgage market of T&T because the policy addresses a number of practices adopted by banks and financial institutions which offer mortage loan facilities.
He said the policy seeks to propose that disclosure with respect to mortgages be enshrined in law and so the policy indicates the identity of the mortgagee and the mortgagor, the amount financed, the itemization of the amount financed, total number of payments and prepayment/late payment penalties to be disclosed.
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