Friday 26 December 2014

Defiant Lavin in pledge to battle eviction from home

Published 10/07/2014 | 02:30

Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen
Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen

CELEBRITY businesswoman Jackie Lavin has vowed she will fight for her Kerry home and stop an attempt by the receivers to evict her from the property.

Ms Lavin, who grew up in Ballyduff, Co Kerry, claims she is the beneficial owner of Killegy House in Killarney, the property built by her partner of 35 years Bill Cullen. She has been given 14 days to submit her statement of claim.

"It is my Kerry home and I'll be putting in my claim for it within the timeframe," she told the Irish Independent.

"I can't really talk about it in any great detail because it is before the courts and subject to further court proceedings."

Ms Lavin was not present at Tralee Circuit Civil Court earlier this week when the matter came up for mention.

The receivers for Glencullen Property Ltd, Mr Cullen's former company, have begun legal proceedings to remove Ms Lavin from the property.

But Ms Lavin has taken her claim as the beneficial owner of the luxury home to the High Court.

Judge Carroll Moran ordered Ms Lavin to file a statement of claim outlining her ownership of the property within 14 days.

She claims she bought Killegy House in a private sale from Glencullen for €760,000 in 2011 and has vowed to fight against repossession.

The house is set within Killarney National Park, less than 5km from the Muckross Park Hotel, which is also now in receivership.

In January, the mother-of-two was given 112 days to quit the property at a tribunal hearing of the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).

The eviction was sought by Kavanagh Fennell, the receivers of Glencullen Properties, on the basis that Ms Lavin had stopped paying rent in September 2012.

At the time, Ms Lavin said she would not be "bullied out of her home by any bank" but declined to comment further for legal reasons.

At the PRTB hearing in January the businesswoman said Mr Cullen had allowed her to "live and reside in the dwelling as she wished".

Ms Lavin said she had an agreement with Mr Cullen that she did not have to pay rent for the property, as she was an employee of Muckross Park hotel and also Mr Cullen's partner.

Mr Cullen had been paying a benefit in kind to his company for use of the property, which changed in February 2009, when Ms Lavin entered into an agreement with Glencullen Properties to pay rent for the property, negotiated down to €15,000 per month in 2012.

Ms Lavin claims that she transferred €760,000 to Glencullen to buy the house in 2011, but continued to pay rent to Mr Cullen's company.

The receivers said her claim to own the property should be disregarded due to her failure to produce any proof of her "beneficial interest".

The matter, before Tralee Circuit Court, has been adjourned until November with liberty to re-enter for the receivers if Ms Lavin does not submit her claim within the allotted time.

Irish Independent

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