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Bank can sell couple's house despite husband not being in debt, High Court rules


The Four Courts

The Four Courts

The Four Courts

A bank can sell a couple’s north Dublin house despite there being no charge over the husband’s 50 per cent stake in the property, the High Court has ruled.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons said it was “just and equitable” to allow Allied Irish Banks PLC to sell the house, which was not the couple’s family home.

The lender, represented by barrister Keith Rooney, could then recoup half the net sale proceeds to claim its debt owed by Kellie Greene, otherwise known as Kellie Byrne.

The remaining 50 per cent of the net proceeds of selling the house on Hamlet Avenue, Chieftain’s Way, Balbriggan, will be paid to co-owner Kenneth Greene.

The judge said his order allowing the sale “seems unlikely” to render the couple homeless, as the property is not their family home. Neither defendant participated in the court hearings.

The court held that Ms Greene’s interest in the property stands well charged with a debt to AIB of €413,000, plus interest. This arises from defaults on commercial loan facilities granted to her personally in 2004 and 2006 to purchase the Hamlet Avenue house and to restructure her debt.

Ms Greene had been an employee of the bank, so qualified for certain loans at preferential rates, the judge noted. A formal demand for repayment was made as long ago as 2014.

Mr Justice Simons previously ruled that Mr Greene’s interest in the property was not subject to a charge as a result of providing a written guranantee for his wife’s debt.

The bank had contended that it was implicit from documentation that Mr Greene’s interest in the property was charged, but the judge found this submission was not well founded. He said there was nothing in the records to indicate this was the case, and the bank’s own affidavit confirmed the loan facilities were granted only to Ms Greene.

Mr Justice Simons ruled that the guarantee was not secured by a grant of an equitable mortgage over his share of the property.

However, the man was aware his wife had granted security over the property and he had provided a guarantee.

The judge said the bank was entitled to enforce its security against Ms Greene’s interest in the property, while Mr Greene will be protected by being paid half the net sale proceeds.

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He made various orders, including one under section 31 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 allowing for the property to be sold.

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