Friday 18 October 2019

Mother and seven children saved from home repossession

Close call: Daragh Clerkin (centre) with six of her seven
children, from left, James, Jodie, Dayna, Liam, Ruby and
Karl. Photo: Kevin McNulty
Close call: Daragh Clerkin (centre) with six of her seven children, from left, James, Jodie, Dayna, Liam, Ruby and Karl. Photo: Kevin McNulty
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

A mother and her seven children have been saved from having their home repossessed.

Daragh Clerkin had been to court 25 times after her husband left her and she was unable to pay the mortgage.

She was about to lose her home after six years of fighting repossession attempts. But she has now signed a mortgage-to-rent deal that will see her mortgage debts written off and she will get to rent back the same home at a price based on her ability to pay.

Ms Clerkin's children range in age from two to 20, with three girls and four boys. She says she was unable to make payments on her Permanent TSB mortgage after her husband left her, as she was not working outside the home.

The repayments were €1,200 a month, and she had been trying to pay half this amount. The bank was unwilling to restructure her repayments as she had no income.

"I have been fearing repossession. I was really scared. The bank just kept asking me to hand back the keys," she said.

Ms Clerkin says she constantly woke up in the middle of the night from nightmares, fearing the family would be left homeless. Although originally from Dublin, Ms Clerkin, her seven children and three dogs live in a village in Co Westmeath.

"I only started working in the last few weeks. I paid what I could," she says. She had asked Permanent TSB about mortgage-to-rent two or three years ago, but she says she was told it was not an option then.

"I went to court several days with my stomach in knots. I dreaded the thought I would have no roof over the heads of my children."

But there has been a sea change since with banks, and even vulture funds that have bought distressed mortgages, now prepared to do the mortgage-to-rent deals. Now privately funded mortgage-to-rent specialist Home For Life has signed her up.

Home For Life has bought the property, and leased it to the local authority. The Clerkin family will now rent it from their council.

The mortgage-to-rent deal has meant that her mortgage debts have been written off by Permanent TSB, and instead of a monthly mortgage of €1,200, she has been assessed for a weekly rent of €96.

Irish Independent

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