Family with special needs son being pushed out of home

A STRUGGLING Waterford family with a special-needs child are being pushed by their mortgage lender to sell or move out of their home after losing their fight to hold onto their house.

The family – who gained national sympathy after the courts ordered the repossession of their home – now face being landed with a €100,000 debt after they leave the house.

The mother, Mary (not her real name), of the 17-year-old boy with special needs explained that lender, Stepstone Mortgage Funding, had written to them in recent days reminding them the unemployed family owed nearly €320,000.

The subprime lender is advising them to sell the home for €220,000 or move out into rented accommodation.

“We got the letter. And then they rang me asking me to make some effort to put it on the market or look at moving out and renting. It was better than us accumulating more debt, they said,” explained the Waterford mother.

“If we move away, we have nothing to give us another start in life. We literally will walk away with nothing, with just three beds, a TV, some clothes and we’ll have nothing to show for it [the house].”

The family’s plight was raised in the Dáil in December after the High Court ordered their home be repossessed despite the couple offering to repay €800 a month to Stepstone.

The couple were both let go at Waterford Crystal in 2008 but were left facing mortgage repayments of €1,900 a month for their home which cost nearly €340,000.

Beyond the €277,000 mortgage, they had put their own cash into buying and fitting out the house, especially for their son.

On top of losing that investment they now look likely to be shouldered with a €100,000 debt, when arrears and legal costs are added in, once they hand over the keys of the home.

“We’re struggling desperately. It’s down to us now to get the best price for it or move out and rent or go into social housing.

“I’m worried sick about the child, he’s not coping well with it [the idea]. My husband also feels he’s failed us. The reality has hit home that we really have nothing.

“I don’t know whether to start packing or where we are to go as we don’t have the money to rent anywhere.

“They [the lender] told me, when it’s sold they’ll look at the figures, knock a few bob off. But they’ll probably pursue me for the rest.”

The three-bed family home had its first viewing on Wednesday.

Mary added: “If we don’t make any effort, they’ll follow me for everything.

“It is difficult and I’m sure it is for hundreds of other families like us out there. Both of us used to work and now we’re just about on €400 a week together to live on.”

When contacted yesterday, Stepstone did not comment.


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