Wednesday 21 August 2019

Businessman Bernard Rocca and his wife seek court ruling in fight to keep their €1m home

Troubles: Theresa and Bernard Rocca
Troubles: Theresa and Bernard Rocca

Ray Managh

Businessman Bernard Rocca and his wife Theresa may avoid losing their €1m home which a vulture fund claims it is entitled to sell off against his personal business debts of up to €2m.

Senior counsel Eanna Mulloy, for the couple, asked Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court to consider stating a case to the Supreme Court for consideration of the effect of Section 92 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009.

The section states: "Notwithstanding any stipulation to the contrary, a mortgagor is entitled to redeem any housing loan mortgage without having to pay any money due under any other mortgage with the same mortgagee, whether that other mortgage is of the same or other property."

Havbell, which bought all of Mr Rocca's loans at a discounted rate from Permanent TSB bank, claims the €2m business buy-to-let loans are guaranteed on the Rocca family home at Woodberry, Castleknock, Dublin.

Case: Bernard Rocca had business debts of up to €2m. Photo: Courtpix
Case: Bernard Rocca had business debts of up to €2m. Photo: Courtpix

Mr Mulloy told Judge Linnane a home renovation loan taken out in both Bernard and Theresa's names in 1998 had been paid off all but for 10c.

He said only €131,000 was still outstanding on the initial mortgage taken out by Mr Rocca before he and Theresa married.

"That €131,000 is today resting in the client account of the Rocca's family solicitor... ready to be handed over to Havbell on the undertaking that the fund will release the mortgage charges it holds against 30 Woodberry, Castleknock," Mr Mulloy said.

He said Havbell wanted the two outstanding debts of €131,000 and also the one for 10c paid off and still be able to retain the guarantee charges on their home against the €2m loans.

Barrister Gary Hayes, who appeared for the fund, said that when Ms Rocca co-signed with her husband for the lesser renovation mortgage it included a clause relating to all existing or future loans which left both parties, including their family home, liable as security against the €2m business loan.

The case was adjourned.

Irish Independent

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