Court grants nine possession orders


ALMOST ONE quarter of all applications listed before the High Court chancery summonses hearing yesterday resulted in orders for possession.

Nine possession orders were granted out of 40 cases listed before Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, five of which were granted to subprime lender Start mortgages. A further three orders were granted to AIB.

A possession order was granted to Start for registered land in Co Cork after no payment was received since October 2008. The court heard how mortgage repayments were 14 months in arrears.

The judge noted that regular payments had been made but these payments only amounted to approximately one third of the monthly repayments, with €149,991 currently outstanding. The original loan was for €135,000.

In three cases, possession orders were granted on consent of the defendant. In an application by Start mortgages, the court heard how the defendants were consenting to an order and had already vacated the property.

The defendant told the court that he bought the property in June 2006, but that he and his wife moved out less than a year later as the property was damp. He said he had invested €40,000 in the house to remove the dampness but there had been no improvement.

“Our baby caught a chest infection as a result,” he said. “Any clothes laid out would be all wet by the morning”.

A second possession order was granted to Start on consent of the defendants, after they accrued arrears in excess of €60,000, with an outstanding balance of €494,000.

The defendants had drawn down an interest-only loan, to be repaid over 40 years, in May 2007, but ran into financial difficulties.

“There is no prospect of the defendants paying,” as the wife, an auctioneer, had developed rheumatoid arthritis and was in receipt of disability allowance and the husband, a carpenter, was being affected by the construction industry slow-down, the court heard.

The defendants had made several efforts to sell the property in 2007, but these failed due to a residency covenant.

Counsel for the defendants disputed costs in the case, saying the mortgage lender should have taken hold of the property and acted as “mortgagee in possession” during the sale, as Start described itself as financial advisers and consultants in its articles of association.