Thursday 19 January 2017

Man left a homeless alcoholic over loan arrears

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

Published 12/04/2011 | 05:00

A MAN was left homeless and suffering from alcohol addiction after he lost his land and stables when he was unable to repay a bank loan.

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The tragic circumstances were outlined in the High Court yesterday, where a senior judge asked that the man, who has separated from his wife, not be identified.

Mr Justice John MacMenamin heard that the man, who borrowed €277,000 from ACC Bank in 2003, was unable to sell the agricultural lands and stables to meet his debts.

The man, who is from the south-east, is now an in-patient in a medical facility where he is being treated for alcohol addiction.

Judge MacMenamin refused to impose legal costs, which lenders are normally entitled to if they obtain a repossession order, after hearing the man is now homeless and did not object to Dutch-owned ACC retrieving the lands.

Difficult

The judge said it was "very difficult" for the court to make any order other than one for repossession and granted a stay of six months before the lands were taken back by the bank.

The man and his wife took out a €277,000 loan in February 2003 with ACC and maintained monthly repayments on the loan until April 2006.

They paid almost €20,000 that year to meet their debts, but in July 2008 ACC obtained a judgment against the couple for €254,608.

Arrears continued to rise on the loan and the couple now owe more than €310,000, leading to yesterday's repossession order.

The case was one of 13 repossession orders granted to lenders where many debtors had not paid their monthly mortgage payments for up to three years.

The court heard that many borrowers had had no contact with their lenders for a number of years.

Complaints

In one case, sub-prime lender GE Capital had taken out an advertisement in Polish newspaper 'The Krakow Post' in a bid to track down a man who had paid just two instalments on an investment property.

In another case, the Health Services Executive contacted a lender after complaints by a neighbour of a borrower who had abandoned their home.

The neighbour expressed concerns that the vacant property posed a health risk as it was strewn with rubbish, including food waste, and was possibly infested with rats and mice.

The property had not been lived in for more than two years.

Ireland currently has the second-highest level of mortgage arrears in Europe.

About 80,000 homeowners are having problems paying their mortgages, according to the Central Bank.

Irish Independent

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