Couple ordered to leave home after court case

Bank served notice after landlord went into receivership in 2012

Violet and Martin Coyne have been ordered to leave their home in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Violet and Martin Coyne have been ordered to leave their home in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 01:00

A Dublin couple, who have been ordered by Dublin Circuit Court to vacate their home by midnight tomorrow, say they have nowhere else to live and face prison.

Violet (61) and Martin (72) Coyne, have been renting their home in Carpenterstown, west Dublin for 15 years. Their landlord, who had a mortgage with ACC Bank, went into receivership in mid 2012.

They received notice from KPMG, who had been appointed receivers for the bank, in November 2012 telling them their “tenure” had been terminated, and they had 112 days to leave their home by March, 12th, 2013. The receiver intended selling the house.

They contacted the Private Residential Tenancies Board for advice on their rights. “They did nothing for us really,” says Mr Coyne.

The PRTB determined on September 17th, 2013, the receiver had the right to expect the property back within 28 days.

“We have been looking for somewhere else to rent but there’s nothing anywhere we can afford. We’re looking non-stop, but there’s nothing.”

Their rent, originally €1,100 a month had come down in recent years to €800 a month. They have a combined weekly income of a €363 in State pension, and are entitled to rent allowance of €700 a month.

However, they are unable to find a property to rent within the rent allowance cap and in the area where they are eager to stay, as they have children and other family there.

Couple brought to court The receivers, who stopped accepting their rent cheques in December 2013 brought the couple to court. They have appeared on four occasions before Ms Justice Jacqueline Linane, without legal representation.

Having applied to the Legal Aid Board, Mr Coyne was offered an appointment with a solicitor for August 25th.

The appearances culminated last month with an order from Ms Justice Linane that they be out of the house by midnight, July 22nd or be “committed to prison”.

They were in contact with Fingal County Council. “We’ve been on the housing list since 2010. The housing section say we will be waiting three to four years for a house. The homelessness section told us there was nothing they could do until we were homeless,” said Mr Coyne.

Plan to buy house The couple originally had a plan to buy the house. Using some savings and a loan of €280,000, they bought a site nearby. Mr Coyne, a retired brick-layer, had a plan to build a house with his three sons, and sell it on completion.

They would clear the loan and buy the house they are now being ordered to leave. Their landlord was agreeable to the idea.

After six years getting planning permission the build began in 2007.

Near-constant rain through the summer delayed completion further however. Finally finished at the end of the year, the five-bedroom, 2,100 sq ft house went sale-agreed, for €800,000.

However, the buyer pulled out, the housing crash came and the house was repossessed later in 2008. The loan was written off.

“I am angry all the time,” says Violet. “I just think ‘What’s the point?’ ‘What has it all been for?’ ”

They are due back in court on Wednesday, after the midnight deadline tomorrow.

She plans to stay at home while he will face the judge. “No one has offered us any help or ever offered us a suggestion about what we should do,” he says. “Where is the morality in that? Where is the humanity? Is this what the State wants to do to people like us?

“All we want is to stay here and keep paying rent to the bank.”

Neither ACC nor KPMG would comment on the case.