Elderly couple can stay in home, pending legal bid outcome

Injunction was sought requiring couple to honour agreement they signed in November 2014 agreeing to vacate the property

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan: ruled that possession bid by Nama receiver should get a full hearing. Photograph: Ronan Quinlan/Collins

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan: ruled that possession bid by Nama receiver should get a full hearing. Photograph: Ronan Quinlan/Collins

 

An elderly couple may remain in their Co Dublin rented home, said to be worth €900,000, pending the outcome of a legal bid by a Nama-appointed receiver to secure possession of the property to reduce the owner’s debts, the High Court has ruled.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan refused an injunction directing Edgard and Daphne Hall, in their 70s, to immediately vacate the property which they say has been home to them and their family for some 23 years.

A receiver has brought proceedings aimed at securing possession of the property, Dunrovan, Ferndale Road, Rathmichael. Tom Kavanagh sought injunctions requiring the Halls to honour an agreement signed by them in November 2014 agreeing to vacate the property and hand over possession to the receiver who wishes to sell it.

Mr Justice Gilligan said he was not prepared to grant the injunction, pending the final outcome of the action, because several issues had been raised that could only be determined at the full hearing. These include the Halls’ claim they entered into a lease agreement with the owner of the property in 1993.

It is claimed the house was bought by their landlord in late 1992 with funds borrowed from Bank of Ireland that were later acquired by the National Assets Management Agency which, in August 2013, appointed Mr Kavanagh as receiver.

Following negotiations between the Halls and the receiver, an arrangement was arrived at in November 2014, part of which was that the Halls were to vacate the premises by the end of January 2015, but they failed to leave the house.

Brian Conroy, for the receiver, said the situation was “unfortunate” but they had signed up to an agreement with the receiver and were attempting to go behind that which they were not legally entitled to do.

He said the receiver would be happy to sell the property, worth about €900,000, to the Halls if they could obtain funding. The receiver was now almost two years without possession of the house and he wished to sell it to reduce what was owed by the borrower.

Mr Hall, representing himself, accepted he signed the agreement with the receiver and described that as being the “biggest mistake of his life”. One of his children was due to get married in August and the house was to be used for the reception. If they had to leave, he said he would have “failed his family.”

Mr Hall said he was involved with a not for-profit organisation, Fairfund, which delivered capital to areas in need. He said he paid rent of £1,500 a month after moving into the house, which later rose to €3,300 a month till 2010.

In 2010, he entered into a financial agreement with the landlord involving a promissory note payable to his landlord.

The injunction should not be granted on grounds including he had carried out works on the property worth €75,000 and it would result in himself and his wife becoming homeless. They would find it difficult to secure alternative accommodation.

Charlotte Finnegan, for Ms Hall, said her client did not get any independent legal advice about her rights as a tenant before signing the agreement. Ms Hall also claimed some third party had altered the agreement of November 2014. The injunction should not be granted as it would breach her rights under the Family Home Protection Act, Ms Finnegan argued.

Mr Justice Gilligan said the injunction application raised a number of issues, particularly the points raised by Ms Hall, which should be decided at a full hearing. He was also satisfied damages would be an adequate remedy and the balance of convenience favoured allowing the Halls to remain in the property.