Solicitor claims fraud as property repossessed

EIGHT orders for repossession were granted in the High Court yesterday, including one against a solicitor who claimed the signature on the mortgage loan agreement was not hers.

One of the orders related to a debt and an apartment in Grand Canal Quay in Dublin. The loan involved was almost €1.8 million.

The solicitor in whose name the loan was registered claimed she was a victim of fraud, that the signature was not hers and she had reported the matter to gardaí.

Counsel for Ulster Bank Ireland Limited told Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne that it had already secured a judgement for the loan, drawn down in 2007, and on which one repayment of €14,646 was made in August 2009.

The solicitor claimed in a sworn document that the granting of a possession order would have detrimental consequences for her and wished to have her name removed from the register in the Land Registry.

Granting the repossession order, the judge said that she could not understand why the solicitor was defending the application if she had no interest in the property. It was also open to her to take separate proceedings.

Ms Justice Dunne granted a repossession order in relation to a home in Wicklow town jointly owned by a couple who have since split up. The husband lives with his children away from the family home that is still occupied by his wife.

The court was told that arrears totalling €34,177 had accrued on a loan of €130,000 and that the last repayment of €997 was made in 2008. The apartment in which the wife still resides is currently valued at €310,000.

The father of the daughter appealed to the judge not to grant a repossession order to Stepstone Mortgage Funding Ltd as the balance owed of just under €169,000 was less than the value of the house.

The father said the couple were involved in family law proceedings and his daughter was too upset to come to court. He said she wanted to put the house up for sale so that money left over could give her a new beginning.

Ms Justice Dunne said that, strictly speaking, the father could not represent his daughter, and pointed out that money had been paid by way of mortgage interest supplement to his daughter but had not been used in the way it was supposed to be.

The judge said she would put a stay of six months on the repossession order that should allow time for the property to be sold.

In another case where a repossession order was granted in relation to a property in Dundalk, Co Louth, the judge said she was very concerned that there were arrears of almost €92,000 on a loan of €360,000 drawn down in April 2008

Granting a stay of six months on the order Stepstone Mortgage Funding, she said she could not allow any more arrears to build up by granting another adjournment.

The judge said documents submitted suggested that current market price was now €240,000.

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