Sunday 11 December 2016

Bankrupt man may sue PTSB after loss of home

Charlie Weston and Tim Healy

Published 14/06/2016 | 02:30

The court decision comes less than a year after Permanent TSB set up a redress and compensation scheme for just under 1,400 mortgage customers who were forced off tracker rates on to more expensive rates. Photo: Collins
The court decision comes less than a year after Permanent TSB set up a redress and compensation scheme for just under 1,400 mortgage customers who were forced off tracker rates on to more expensive rates. Photo: Collins

A man who lost his house, his partner and had to go bankrupt is considering suing Permanent TSB.

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Joseph Wallace, of Mahon, in Cork, claims he was overcharged when he lost his tracker mortgage and was put on a much higher rate by the bank.

This eventually led to him being adjudicated bankrupt, the High Court heard.

Yesterday Ms Justice Caroline Costello formally discharged him from his bankruptcy.

Permanent TSB consented to his discharge, as did official assignee Chris Lehane.

The court decision comes less than a year after Permanent TSB set up a redress and compensation scheme for just under 1,400 mortgage customers who were forced off tracker rates on to more expensive rates.

Mr Wallace's personal insolvency practitioner, and the solicitor on record in the High Court, Alan McGee, said his client was now considering suing the bank.

"He lost his home, his relationship and suffered mental health issues," he said.

Asked what action would now be taken, Mr McGee said: "There is a claim. He will examine his options."

Mr Wallace, who had worked in retail sales before losing his job, was adjudicated bankrupt in March 2014.

Permanent TSB was his sole creditor, barrister Keith Farry BL told the High Court. He had borrowed to purchase a home in Carrigaline, Co Cork, in 2007.

Mr Wallace fixed his mortgage rate and at the end of the fixed-rate term he was not allowed back on the tracker rate. He was then unable to repay his mortgage, the court heard.

By moving from a tracker rate of 1.15pc, Mr Wallace ended up on a variable rate of 4.5pc.

The outstanding mortgage at the time of the bankruptcy was some €326,000 with €75,000 arrears, Mr Wallace's counsel told the court.

However, counsel said the actual amount, had there not been an overcharge, was around €284,000 with €52,000 arrears.

Mr Wallace satisfied the court that if he had not been overcharged he would not have been in the same financial difficulty and may not have needed to go bankrupt.

The stress of the situation caused Mr Wallace's relationship to break up, Mr McGee said.

David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Association said the case was the first of its kind before the courts.

His association was in discussions on behalf of a number of other people in similar situations, whose cases are pending.

Irish Independent

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