Fall in number of mortgage writs in Northern Ireland

Image caption, Not all of the writs or summonses lead to house reposessions

The number of people taken to court in Northern Ireland for failing to pay their mortgages has fallen.

During the third quarter of 2010, 863 writs and originating summonses were issued.

The comparable figure for the third quarter in 2009 was 1,124, a 23% decrease.

While there was a fall in the number of mortgage writs issued in 2006 and 2007, there was a 64% rise in 2008.

The number rose again in 2009, though at a much slower rate (8%).

Not all writs and originating summonses lead to eviction or repossession.

A plaintiff begins an action for an order for possession of property. The court, following a judicial hearing, may grant an order for possession.

This entitles the plaintiff to apply to have the defendant evicted.

However, even where an order for eviction is issued, the parties can still negotiate a compromise to prevent eviction.