A couple who last year fought an attempt to repossess their bed and breakfast in Sandymount, Dublin, have won a High Court challenge to a decision to impose commercial rates on the property they say is primarily their family home.
Ann Keane and Patrick Halpin came to public attention last year when a receiver got a possession order over the 16-bedroom Aberdeen Lodge at Park Lane over default on a €25 million debt which had been acquired by Kenmare Property Finance. It followed seven years of litigation, ending up in the Supreme Court which found against the couple.
The couple resisted the repossession and a case over that is pending.
In the meantime, in May last year, the couple were told their property was liable for commercial rates. They say it should be exempt as it is mainly their family home for them and their two children.
Earlier this year, in a separate case against them by a Dublin City Council rate collector, the High Court found the couple were liable for a €75,000 rates bill for 2013-17 despite their contention the property was not rateable.
The couple had separately brought judicial review proceedings seeking to quash the decision to revoke a previous decision making the premises exempt.
It was claimed the Valuations Office initially said it should be exempt but that a manager in that office decided some months later that decision was a “clerical error” as a result of a misunderstanding.
The Commissioner of Valuation opposed the challenge.
In his judgment on Friday, Mr Justice Charles Meenan said there was clearly no clerical error.
The removal of the property from the valuation list was not incorrect and it followed there were no “exceptional” circumstances as the commissioner had claimed.
He was satisfied the couple were entitled to succeed and said he would hear later from the parties concerning the appropriate orders to be made.