Court grants repossession orders for two houses abandoned by owners

Tue, Mar 27, 2012, 01:00

TWO ABANDONED homes had orders of possession granted against them at the High Court yesterday.

In both cases Mr Justice Brian McGovern was told the borrowers had left the jurisdiction.

Start Mortgages Ltd sought an order of possession for a property in Dundalk, Co Louth. A couple had borrowed €234,000 in 2006 to buy the home, but they got into difficulties, the court was told, fell behind with their payments and subsequently separated.

Documents filed with the court showed a debt counsellor was sent by the lender to talk to the couple in April 2010. His report showed the couple had separated and both had moved back to Northern Ireland. The man told the counsellor he was living with his parents and was running out of work. He said there was no point in him filling in an income and expenditure report because he was only earning £150 to £200 a week and even that would be reduced because “there is little work now”. He said he was paying what he had “to his mum for food and lodgings”.

Mr Justice McGovern said it was clear the unfortunate people were not in a position to pay and granted the order with a stay of execution for three months.

Counsel for the lender asked permission to advertise the order in a paper in Northern Ireland as the lender did not have addresses for either of the parties.

Asked by the judge if they could not at least trace the man, counsel said they had tried.

They had instructed six separate private investigators to try to find the address, but they each had said “they wouldn’t be in a position to trace the defendant because of the area he lived in, in Armagh”, counsel said.

“Whatever that means,” the judge remarked, and gave him leave to advertise in the Newry Democrat.

GE Capital Woodchester Homeloans Ltd was also granted an order for possession yesterday for a family home in Tipperary.

The court was told the couple involved had returned the keys to the lender, abandoned their home and moved to the UK. They had borrowed €110,000 in 2005 and now owed arrears of almost €23,000. Though they had written a letter to accompany their keys, saying they could no longer keep up the mortgage payments, they had not signed any legal documents surrendering their home, counsel for the lender said.

“On the basis that they handed back the keys I can only assume they are not contesting it,” Mr Justice McGovern said. He granted the order without any stay.