Monday 19 March 2018

Couple have paid nothing off €735k mortgage in three years despite renting out house, court told

Ray Managh

A COUPLE now living in the USA have paid nothing off the €735,000 debt on their Dublin home for more than three years despite having it rented out, a court was told today

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard in the Circuit Civil Court that Richard Babikian and Colleen Sheridan now owed just over €198,000 in mortgage arrears to Bank of Scotland plc.

Counsel for the bank said the couple, now in Raritan, New Jersey, had borrowed €630,000 in October 2009 on 109 Wainsfort Manor Drive, Terenure, D6W and had stopped making repayments.

“I can confirm that the occupants of the property are paying rent to the borrowers but those entire monies are being withdrawn in America,” he said.

In an application for possession of the house counsel told the court the total outstanding debt was now €735,499.  He said the two defendants unfortunately had not engaged in good faith with the bank.

“They are using any avenue as a delaying tactic so they can receive more rent and use it in America,” he said.  “They are collecting the rent, spending it and leaving the bank out to dry.”

Maurice Lyons, solicitor for the couple, told Judge Linnane that Mr Babikian had for two years been putting proposals for repayment before the bank but they had been turned down on each occasion.

He said that only recently the couple had submitted fresh repayment proposals which had again been rejected by the bank with the message that they could appeal, if they wished, the bank’s decision.

“That is what the defendants have done and it would be wrong of the court to grant possession to the bank while that matter is under appeal,” Mr Lyons said.

He said that without notifying the defendants the bank had brought in a third party, Certus, to deal with them, a development which in itself breached the Code of Conduct governing how lenders deal with defaulting borrowers.

Judge Linnane said the bank had not complied with the court’s directions regarding the service of a supplementary affidavit and she was not prepared to grant an order for possession while the appeal against it’s rejection of the latest payment proposals was ongoing.

“This debt, with arrears standing at €198,000, is just getting bigger and bigger,” she said.

“There is no dispute by the defendants that they got the money or that they have not paid one euro off the debt since September 2010 despite getting a rental income.”

The judge adjourned the application for mention on June 19 next.

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