Start Mortgages wins possession of Donegal couple’s family home

Loan of €410,000 taken out in 2007 for construction of four houses

The Circuit Court transferred the matter to the High Court where Mr Justice Séamus Woulfe said Start had established an entitlement to possession. Photograph: iStock

The Circuit Court transferred the matter to the High Court where Mr Justice Séamus Woulfe said Start had established an entitlement to possession. Photograph: iStock

 

The High Court has granted a possession order to a finance company over a couple’s home arising out of a loan to carry out a small housing development.

Thomas and Eileen Ryan, opposed the order on their home at Ballybuninabber, Termon, Co Donegal, sought by Start Mortgages DAC.

Start sought the order over default on a loan of €410,000 it made to the Ryans in 2007 so Mr Ryan could undertake the construction of four town houses on land next to business premises which were in his name.

The loan, of €410,000 repayable over 30 years, was secured on the Ryan family home.

The Ryans initially made a number of monthly repayments but later ran into financial difficulties during the recession and by June 2011 the debt had risen to some €449,000. Start demanded repayment of the full amount and when this did not happen, the company sought possession of the family home.

When Start brought Circuit Court proceedings seeking possession in 2014 the debt had risen to some €556,000 including arrears of €142,000.

The Circuit Court transferred the matter to the High Court where Mr Justice Séamus Woulfe, a Supreme Court judge sitting as a High Court judge, said Start had established an entitlement to possession.

Grounds

Among the 13 grounds argued by the Ryans were that Start secured a judgment on their family home in October 2013 but failed to activate the judgment and that Start was suing for the same debt twice. They also claimed the mortgage agreement contained unfair terms, in breach of EU regulations and that a family home should not be allowed to be used to secure a commercial loan.

Start disputed the Ryans’ claims.

Mr Justice Woulfe said while the court had great sympathy for the Ryans, he was satisfied they had not made out “any credible grounds” of defence in their case.

He placed a stay on the possession order of six months to allow them arrange alternative accommodation.