Court grants lenders 13 orders for repossession


THIRTEEN ORDERS for repossession were granted at the High Court yesterday including one on a holiday home in Co Kerry that the purchaser did not see until he bought it.

Mr Justice Seán Ryan granted four orders to Start Mortgages Ltd, three to Stepstone Mortgage Funding Ltd and one each to Springboard Mortgages Ltd, Bank of Ireland, ACC Bank, Bank of Scotland (Ireland) Ltd, GE Capital Woodchester Home Loans Ltd and the Educational Building Society.

In a case taken by Bank of Scotland, the court was told the defendant borrowed €316,000 in 2005 to buy a holiday home in Tralee, Co Kerry. The property was part of a development involving a golf club and a number of other holiday homes to be leased out to tourists. The defendant, a builder, told the court he was offered the property by a broker and did not view it until the deal was done.

“Several friends and colleagues bought property there as well,” he said.

He failed to make repayments from April 2008. He told the court he had tried to sell the property, but was not successful. The rent was valued at €6,000 a year and he had offered it to the bank. There were two other properties the bank was helping him with, he said.

He was finding it difficult and had never been on the dole in his life, he told the judge. He was attempting to set up a new business, but there would be no money from it for a year or two.

“This doesn’t seem like the right one to have a battle over,” Mr Justice Ryan said. It was a holiday home and the debt was rising on it all the time, he said.

The defendant said he had no real problem with an order for possession being granted.

“That is a sensible attitude to take, for what it’s worth,” the judge said.

He did not give any stay on the order. “If they are going to have it they might as well get it,” he told the defendant.

The judge also granted an order for possession to Start Mortgages on a house in which the defendant claimed to be living with his elderly parents.

The court heard he had taken out a loan of €215,000 on a house in which he already lived and was now in arrears of €37,000. His counsel said he trained and sold horses for a living and was owed a lot of money but was having difficulty collecting it.

Counsel for the lender disputed that the man’s elderly parents were living with him, though there was an affidavit lodged from a solicitor stating they had moved in with their son in 1989.

The two parties had reached a new agreement, the court heard, and the defendant had said he would pay €600 off arrears and the €1,300 payment. But he only made one payment of €600.

Mr Justice Ryan said he understood not everybody worked in circumstances where they received a regular income, but that did not account for the defendant “not paying a cent since May 2008”.

“That is not someone facing their difficulties, acting responsibly and doing the best they can,” he said. He said the “inevitable and irresistible consequence” of the defendant’s actions was an order for possession. He granted it with a six-month stay.

But he refused to grant an application from Start Mortgages to repossess a family home. The court was told there were €32,900 arrears on a mortgage of €472,000 with monthly repayments of €3,100. The couple, who had three young children, had financial difficulties and the wife was now suffering from depression. They were making monthly repayments of €600.

Mr Justice Ryan adjourned the case to March “to give everyone an opportunity to stand back a bit”.

“It would impress me if people make a real effort . . . even if they are in straitened circumstances,” he said.

In a case taken by ACC Bank, the court was told the defendants consented to an order for possession. They had agreed with the lender that if they were given a stay of nine months on the order they would pay the lender €1,000 a month and would also co-operate in marketing the property.

The judge also granted an order to Stepstone Mortgages for a house in Co Offaly that had been burned down.

The court was told the insurance policy on the property had run out and had not been renewed by the defendant.