A couple have lost their High Court appeal aimed at overturning an order granted to a mortgage lender for vacant possession of their Dublin home.
Geraldine and Joseph Mooney had advanced no credible defence to the summary possession order for their home at Fairways Park, Griffith Road, Dublin 11, Ms Justice Niamh Hyland ruled.
Full repayment was demanded in 2014 of all sums owing arising from a 30-year mortgage loan for €59,500 granted in 1992, on which repayments ceased in 2007, she noted. As of November last, it was claimed some €187,666 was due, of which €165,408 was arrears.
The couple went to the High Court seeking a full hearing in the Circuit Court after that court granted a possession order on a summary basis.
Last April, the Supreme Court held the High Court had no power to remit such an appeal to the Circuit Court for plenary hearing but could direct a High Court plenary hearing.
Ms Justice Hyland said there was no need for a High Court plenary hearing in this case as the plaintiffs – Permanent TSB (formerly Irish Life & Permanent plc) and Start Mortgages DAC – had established their case on the affidavit evidence and there was no credible defence.
The possession order was sought arising from a 30-year Endowment Home Loan for €59,500, at an initial interest rate of 10.9 per cent, made by Irish Permanent plc in March 1992 to buy the Fairways Park property.
The mortgage terms provided the total debt outstanding would be immediately repayable if the defendants defaulted in making two monthly repayments and it was not disputed the defendants made no repayments since October 10th, 2007, the judge said.
In opposing the possession application, Mrs Mooney said she had a reasonable belief and understanding, particularly from a letter of the plaintiff of January 2000, the mortgage was due to expire in July 2007. The couple complied with their obligations in full, with a last payment made in October 2007, she said.
The judge said the 2000 letter referred, inter alia to the loan term being “271 months, expiring July 2007” . The plaintiffs had said the July 2007 reference ought to have read July 2022 and was a “typographical error”.
The ambiguity undoubtedly contained in the 2000 letter had been resolved by a letter from the plaintiffs of October 5th, 2006 which stated the loan had not expired, there were 190 months left on it, some €60,500 was outstanding and there were arrears of €1,534, she said.
It was also stated there was no life cover assigned to the mortgage as the clients’ endowment policy with Irish Life had lapsed and the loan was converted in 2000 to an annuity.
She was satisfied the position was made “entirely clear” to the couple in October 2006 and they could not thereafter rely on the 2000 letter as a justification to cease paying the mortgage from October 2007. Because they were legally represented, there could be no question of a misunderstanding on their part.
No factual disputes
In this case, there were no factual disputes requiring resolution or complex issues of law to be resolved and a plenary hearing could not provide material providing the basis of a defence.
She was satisfied the plaintiffs had provided the necessary proofs, the defence put forward was “not credible” and does not inhibit the entitlement to summary possession.