Grandparents will be homeless at Christmas as house repossessed
A COUPLE whose home is to be repossessed before Christmas said last night they have nowhere to go once the bank takes over their house.
Patricia and John Burnett, grandparents from Co Tipperary who got into financial difficulties in 2008 and now owe about €32,000 in arrears to GE Money, have called on the government to step in to help homeowners in trouble.
"I think if the government got off their butts and did something, people might save their homes," Patricia Burnett said, adding that she didn't blame anyone for their plight apart from themselves. "We should have made different choices."
The Burnetts' problems with their mortgage -- a refinancing package worth €169,000 which they obtained from GE Money in 2006 to help finance their kitchen and fitness businesses -- began when John lost his job in early 2008.
Shortly afterwards, they missed the monthly repayment for the first time since taking out the loan.
"The first month was gone before we knew it and then the second month was gone. Then it's catch-up all the time and we never caught up. The first day that that first payment was missed, they were on the phone straight away."
Patricia Burnett yesterday described the last two years as "a nightmare". They are now hoping to be considered for social housing but have no definite plans as to where they will go when the stay of execution granted on a repossession order runs out on December 6.
A spokesperson for GE Money said last night the firm did not comment on individual cases but described court action as a "regrettable last resort".
In a statement, the spokesperson said: "GE Money is fully committed to working closely with customers to help them find solutions to financial issues or payment difficulties. Our team works closely and proactively with customers to try to put in place arrangements that are feasible and acceptable to both parties."