Guarantor of friend's loan loses her home


A woman who agreed to act as a guarantor for a friend who borrowed almost €1 million has lost her property in the High Court.

The Co Mayo woman had guaranteed a business loan of €962,000 with ACC Bank for her friend in 2007.

The money was to be repaid over 20 years, but the loan went into default. Repossession orders for two other properties it was secured against, owned by the borrower, had already been granted.

In an affidavit read in court, the guarantor said she had difficulties reading and writing and had dyslexia.

She also said she had not paid the solicitor who acted for her when she signed the guarantee. She said she believed her guarantee was limited only to the Co Mayo property and she was not liable for any outstanding balance owed by the borrower.

Additional liabilities

Counsel for the lender did not say if the bank intended pursuing her for any outstanding money once her property was repossessed. He said there was no need for the court to decide whether she had additional liabilities.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne agreed. She said the guarantor had not denied her property was covered by the guarantee and any further liability could be decided in other proceedings if necessary. She granted the order for possession with a stay of execution of four months.

In a separate case, also involving a guarantor, Charleville Credit Union sought to obtain an order for sale against a home and farm in Co Cork on condition the elderly owner was allowed to stay in his home for the rest of his life. The man had guaranteed a €720,000 business loan for his son.

‘No accounts sought’

The son, who was in court, said his father had dementia. He claimed the credit union had not sought any accounts from him before “handing out” the loan to him.

He accepted he did not engage with the credit union initially because he was overwhelmed, but he did help it sell part of the farm. This left a loan balance of €170,000, he said. His offer to pay the balance back over a number of years was rejected, he said.

“I’m the only person at home with my father and he needs 24-hour attention.”

Ms Justice Dunne adjourned the case for four weeks.