Sligo man fails in appeal against home repossession but given six month reprieve

Sligo man fails in appeal against home repossession but given six month reprieve

The High Court has dismissed an appeal brought a Co Sligo man aimed at overturning a possession order for his family home.

The judge placed a stay of six months on the execution of the possession order due to the current emergency conditions in respect of the coronavirus.

Mr Keith McNair, who was not present in court when the decision was handed down, was granted permission to apply to the court to seek to extend the stay if the pandemic continues to prevail in six months time.

McNair sought to have a possession order granted by the Circuit Court in 2016 in favour of Start Mortgages DAC in respect of his home at Lisheen, Loughaneeteen, Calry Co Sligo.

He appealed that order to the High Court. The possession order was originally made against Mr McNair and his wife Deborah. However only Mr McNair appealed the Circuit Court's decision to the High Court.

Start opposed the appeal and argued that the decision should not be disturbed.

Start claimed that the McNair's entered into a loan agreement with Start Mortgages in 2007. The principal sum advanced was €350,000, which was secured on a dwelling house jointly owned by the couple.

Start claimed that the McNair's defaulted on the repayment of the loan, and ceased making repayments in 2011.

Start then sought possession orders in respect of the property, which it secured following a hearing of Sligo Circuit Court in December 2016.

Mr McNair's appeal was brought on grounds including that the order breached the 1976 Family Home Protection Act, that Start had not complied with the Code of Conduct for Mortgage Arrears.

He further argued that that the 2007 mortgage agreement was unlawful because Start did not hold an authorisation from the Central Bank until 2008, and that there was a failure by Start to comply with the EU Directive on unfair contract terms.

In his judgement at the High Court on Monday Mr Justice Garrett Simons dismissed all grounds of the appeal.

He said he was satisfied that Start had established that it is the registered owner of a charge, which had been given as security for a loan agreement, on Mr McNair's property.

As it was the owner of the charge, the judge said that Start, represented in court on Monday by Kevin Pidgeon Bl was entitled to possession of the property.

While Mr McNair, who represented himself in the proceedings, had advanced a number of detailed technical arguments to the claim, the judge said he had made no real attempt to dispute that he was in significant arrears in regards his loan agreement and mortgage.

The Judge said that arrears of over €470,000 had built up and the last repayment made by the borrowers on the property was made in July 2011.

Mr McNair the judge added had not made out any defence to Start's application for an order for possession, nor had he made any proposals to repay the outstanding balance owed to the lender.

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