The Irish Times – December 15th 2015
Seven family homes in Wicklow will be repossessed following decisions at Wicklow Circuit Court yesterday, though stays of up to 12 months have been ordered to let families find alternative accommodation.
Sixty-three cases were on the court list. Forty-six were adjourned. Eight were struck out. Seven orders were granted for family homes, along with two more for vacant dwellings.
However, county registrar Marie Delanty put stays on the orders against the family homes of between three and 12 months to enable occupants to find alternative accommodation or to “explore the possibility of an alternative resolution”.
In one case, a solicitor represented a couple in their 50s, both of whom have been seriously ill. They were €93,041 in arrears on their mortgage.
The outstanding amount on the mortgage was €193,842, the court was told. Since June, they had paid €1,300 to Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank. Monthly repayments should be €738.17, the court heard.
Describing it “a very sad case”, the couple’s solicitor said the wife suffered pulmonary disease, while the husband, a builder, had been out of work with ill-health for some years.
They had been paying €200 a month to the bank and had recently increased this to €400.
Solicitor for the bank said the case had been going on for many years and his client was “at the end of their tether”. The bank had given the couple “a lot of opportunities” to address arrears.
The couple’s solicitor said the mortgage was “not unsustainable if [only] one of them is working. They have lived in the house for more than 20 years. They are just looking for one final opportunity to get back on their feet.” Her clients would like to address the arrears, she added .
“Yes, if Santy comes, and the tooth fairy too,” said Ms Delanty. She said the court had made many orders reluctantly, including one this year against a couple in their late 60s who had remortgaged their home “for the benefit of their children”.
She granted order for possession with a stay for 12 months. She urged them not to appeal the order, saying they could now apply for social housing.
“Rather than waste money appealing, look at the reality. They could go and be free of all this, and live in an atmosphere without all this financial stress and pressure.”
In another case, the registrar told the respondent he could not expect to remain in the family home paying his lender, Start Mortgages, €50 a month. “You wouldn’t rent a matchbox for that. You wouldn’t be allowed stay in a council house for that.”
The man in the house said he had been in contact with the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (Mabs) that morning.
“You’ve left it to the final hour, to the last minute,” said the registrar. “The bank is not obliged to let you stay in the property for €50 a month. The bank is entitled to their order”.
She adjourned the case to May 2016, to give the man an opportunity “to look at the reality of the situation”.
The repossessions sitting in Bray is one of about 40 across the State this month.
According to data from the courts service, during the first nine months of this year, the highest number of repossessions in one month in a single county were in March, in Cork circuit court, when 34 repossession orders were granted – 27 for family homes.