Court grants orders to repossess 10 houses


AN ORDER for house repossession against a family described by the judge as “another victim” of the economic slump was among 10 such orders granted at the High Court yesterday.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern granted six orders for possession to Start Mortgages and one each to Bank of Scotland (Ireland), Carlisle Mortgages, Bank of Ireland and Springboard Mortgages.

Start Mortgages applied to repossess a family home in Co Wexford. The court heard the family had remortgaged to the value of €70,000 in 2005 to clear loans and borrowed a further €15,000 in 2008 to fund an attic conversion.

The couple, who have four children aged 15 to 25 years, were not in court for the hearing and had no representation.

Counsel for the lender told Mr Justice McGovern the couple owed 22 months of arrears totalling just under €17,000.

He said the husband had written to the lender in June 2009 explaining he had lost his job as a foreman and his wife was unemployed. He requested an extension of the loan and asked that the monthly repayments be reduced from €790 a month to €400.

Counsel said the lender agreed to the new arrangements, but the couple never returned the new application form. The last contact with them was in July 2009.

Mr Justice McGovern, describing the couple as “another victim of the construction slump”, asked if they had been advised to go to the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (Mabs), though he acknowledged it was not the job of the lender to do that.

Counsel suggested the Department of Social and Family Affairs might have offered that advice when the family went there for help.

The judge noted the non-appearance of the couple and said it was clear the lender was entitled to his order for possession.

“This is another sad case of unemployment taking its toll on people’s hopes for a decent life and home,” Mr Justice McGovern said. He put a stay of four months on the order to allow the couple find alternative schools for their children still in education.

Mr Justice McGovern refused to grant an order for possession to Start Mortgages against a family who had borrowed €148,000, but whose home in Co Offaly was now estimated to be worth €90,000.

The couple had three children and the husband, who appeared in court, had been made redundant.

He told the judge he was expecting a redundancy payment of €16,000 in the next eight weeks which he would put toward paying off arrears of €19,000. He said he had secured a part-time job and if he could get his repayments down to €100 a week he could manage.

Mr Justice McGovern adjourned the case for three months.