Couple given chance to save €550k home

A couple with an investment pot in the US worth more than €144,000, and a rental holiday home in Wexford, have been given another chance of saving their €550,000 Dublin residence from being repossessed by a bank.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard in the Circuit Civil Court that John and Bernadette Lyons had also been forced to rent out a room in their home in Clonard Lawn, Sandyford, Dublin 18, for €1,500 a month to help meet their €3,500 a month mortgage repayments.

Joynt and Crawford, solicitors for the AIB Mortgage Bank, told the court the couple were not keeping up the repayments and owed more than €144,000 in arrears alone on their mortgage. Their overall debt to the bank stood at more than €440,000.

The bank’s solicitor said the couple had been saving money from the €1,500 a month they received from the rental of a room in their home and it was because of this that they were in a position to tell the court they would pay off a lump sum of €10,000 to the bank within the next fortnight.

Mr and Mrs Lyons, who represented themselves in court, said that in January, they would be in a position to pay off all of the arrears from the US fund.

Mr Lyons said he was working in London and by January would fulfil a three-year residential requirement there that would allow him to draw down his US fund without having to pay a 50% tax burden to Revenue.

He said he was prepared to pay off all of the arrears in January and in the meantime, he and his wife would make a €10,000 lump sum payment to the bank, from money they had saved, as a gesture of good faith.

Judge Linnane said the mortgage went back to 2006 when the couple drew down a loan for €465,000 which, two years later, they had restructured into two separate loans.

Their difficulties had stretched back to 2008 so their problems had not just come out of the blue.

The judge said it was obvious that the Lyons’ had been engaging with the bank and had been making some repayments unlike many others who came into her court not having paid a penny off their mortgage for years.

She told the bank’s solicitor that he should arrange a meeting between a bank representative and the couple immediately after they had paid the €10,000 within the next two weeks.

She would adjourn the bank’s application to repossess the Sandymount property until mid-February which would give the Lyons’ time to have paid off the full arrears as a result of the US paydown.

Judge Linnane warned the couple that having cleared off their arrears they would still be faced with servicing the €3,500 monthly repayments on the outstanding mortgage but it may be they could successfully negotiate a restructuring of their loan.

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