Bailiffs refuse to do bank’s dirty work in mortgage debt cases

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Rabobank has been sued by a bailiff in Utrecht, GGN, because the bank tried to have it collect outstanding mortgage debts without a court order.

Last Friday the court announced it had asked the Dutch Supreme Court for advice.

The case seems to hinge on the fact that the contracts for the actual loans are of a different type than the mortgage contracts. The latter are drafted by a notary, which gives them greater weight. (The Dutch law speaks of ‘onderhandse akte’ and ‘bovenhandse akte’ respectively.)

Normally bailiffs are only allowed to force payment of a debt (by threatening to sell posessions or by actually selling them) with a court order. Apparently the ‘weightier’ type of contract confers the same power. Other bailiffs have also refused to execute Rabobank’s loan contracts. If Rabobank loses, it must secure a court order for every individual debt.

The case revolves only around debts for houses that have both already been sold and that have been sold for less than the market value. Rabobank admitted according to Z24 that this concerns about 100 cases each year.

Rabobank is one of the few major banks on the planet that wasn’t involved in the near-criminal subprime market that caused the global financial and economic crisis we are currently in, but you have to wonder if maybe it felt left out when you read this.

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