Woman (81) to lose family home after court order
AN 81-YEAR-OLD woman, her son and his family are to lose their home after an order for possession was granted against them at the High Court yesterday.
The elderly woman had signed over her house in Co Louth 10 years ago to her son and daughter-in-law who raised a €740,000 mortgage on it with sub-prime lender Stepstone Mortgage Funding Ltd in 2008.
The repayments were more than €6,200 a month at an interest rate of just under 10 per cent, counsel for the lender told Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne.
The son subsequently lost his business, fell behind with the mortgage and was declared bankrupt earlier this year.
He also suffered a stroke and was unable to work. The elderly woman also became ill and now needs ongoing care which is provided by her daughter-in-law. The couple also have three children.
A detailed financial statement filed with the court showed the couple had a monthly income of €2,230 including supplementary welfare and children’s allowance.
On the statement the couple had said they had “cut down on grocery shopping” and were “trying to cut back on household expenses”. Arrears on the mortgage stood at almost €250,000, counsel for the lender said, and the couple owed €1.22 million.
Counsel for the daughter-in- law, who was the only person represented in court, said she formally opposed the order being made, but could not put up a defence. She asked for a stay of execution of a year on the order.
Counsel for the lender said they were aware of the circumstances, but believed a six-month stay would be sufficient. Ms Justice Dunne acknowledged she usually gave a stay of six months for family homes, but given the “exceptionally difficult circumstances” would give a nine-month stay.
The Co Louth family were among six borrowers who lost their homes at the High Court yesterday, along with two couples who lost investment properties.
In a second case involving Stepstone, a separated couple with a disabled child lost their family home. The Co Kerry couple had borrowed more than €220,000 in 2007 at a rate of 10.8 per cent and fell into arrears in 2008 when work in the building business declined. Ms Justice Dunne gave a stay of six months in the case.
But in another case the judge refused to renew an order granted to Stepstone in 2010 after the borrower said she was making monthly repayments of €800. Her mortgage repayments were €675 excluding arrears. Counsel for the lender acknowledged the payments, but said arrears of €27,756 would take 18 years to pay off. The judge said the court saw people who “don’t even bother” but this woman was “doing her level best to deal with the matter”. She adjourned the case until January.