Sunday 24 September 2017

Dream home 'beyond couple's means'

Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

A MARRIED couple with five children, who yesterday agreed their "dream home" should be repossessed, said they should never have been given the 40-year mortgage.

The man and woman, who asked not to be identified as their children -- aged 18 months to 18 years -- believe the family is "just moving house", said they should never have agreed to borrow €306,000 from Start Mortgages in May 2007 with an annual percentage rate of 8.3pc.

Yesterday the couple, who borrowed from the sub-prime lender to build a dormer bungalow in Cavan, told how they fell behind on their mortgage repayments 11 months after they took out their mortgage, amassing arrears of more than €45,000.

Efforts to sell the home for €320,000 have failed and fighting back tears in the High Court yesterday, the husband, who had lost his job, said the couple decided not to fight the lender as they wanted to "cut their losses".

The couple, whose situation was described as "bleak" by High Court judge Mr Justice Brian McGovern, drew some small comfort after Start did not seek its legal costs for taking the possession action.

"It [the mortgage] was way beyond our means," said the mother of five outside of court yesterday.

"We should never have got it in the first place. We will just move on, what else can we do? It is a relief not to have a heavy mortgage weighing over us and all I can say to other families is to stick together."

Shortfall

But the couple's problems may not end there. If the bank sells the house for less than the mortgage amount, it can pursue the couple for the shortfall.

Yesterday marked one of the busiest days in the High Court's weekly possessions list, where 75 cases were up before Mr Justice McGovern.

Among those to lose a property was Cornelius (Con) Ryan, the former owner of the luxury Kinnity Castle Hotel in Birr, Co Offaly.

Mr Ryan took out a 30-year €562,500 mortgage with Stepstone Mortgage Funding Limited in May 2007 at an APR of 9.7pc on Piper's Cottage, a property located within the grounds of Kinnity Castle.

He began to periodically default in November 2008 and yesterday Stepstone sought an order for possession of the cottage after the court heard that the property had been abandoned.

Irish Independent

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