Couple owe €186k on mortgage but earn €321 a week

Ennis court. Picture: Eamon Ward

“There are no options for us. We don’t have any options. We could be in a hotel room the next time we speak to you.”

The words outside Ennis courthouse yesterday came after a man and his wife were given a reprieve at the repossession court in the Clare county town.

EBS was attempting to repossess the couple’s home.

A solicitor for EBS told county registrar Patrick Wallace arrears on the couple’s property are €69,000 and the total amount owed was €186,000 from an initial mortgage of €144,000.

The couple are on disability and have a joint weekly income of €321.

The man told Mr Wallace he has not worked in a number of years and will never work again due to a chronic back problem.

The debtor told Mr Wallace their home was in a council estate and was now worth only €50,000.

Mr Wallace adjourned the case for four months.

Speaking afterwards outside court, the man said he had no options in repaying the amount owed.

“We are at the mercy of the registrar in there. He is a good man. He is a good-natured man. He gives everyone a break — even those who don’t turn up to court.”

The man said he had fully paid up the mortgage on his home by 2007 but then took out a fresh mortgage to carry out renovations and buy some transport.

He said: “It was easy to pay the mortgage at the time. I was working in construction and earning €1,000 but the ink was barely dry on the mortgage approval when I was struck down with back trouble and I haven’t worked since.”

Mortgage repayments are €860 per month but “we haven’t paid anything in the last year,” he disclosed.

The man said the fear of losing the family home has only added to his stress.

“I’m on anti-depressants for the last three years. The quality of life is very, very poor. You just get through the motions and put on a brave face.”

The couple’s grown up children have left the home and have their own families.

Before the court yesterday, financial institutions had 87 applications for repossession. In court, there was a heavy Garda presence with eight officers standing at strategic points around the courtroom to deter a repeat of disturbance by anti-eviction protesters in Limerick earlier this year.

Mr Wallace granted no order for re-possession yesterday including one case where a home owner has not made any repayment on his mortgage in five years.

The man last paid €150 on his mortgage in May 2011 and today owes €130,637.

Mr Wallace told him: “You haven’t paid a euro in five years. That is the problem.”

The registrar said he would consider making an order for the repossession of the home at the adjourned date in four months.


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