By Ray Managh
A schoolteacher has told a judge she almost doubled the mortgage on her home and gave her father €240,000 for a building site he never transferred into her name or that of her husband.
Caroline and Robert Carass today asked the Circuit Civil Court for an order forcing Irish Life and Permanent PLC (Permanent TSB) to allow them sell their former €525,000 Dublin home for €150,000.
Ms Carass told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that although some of the €240,000 had been directed by herself and Robert towards setting up an office supplies company that failed within a year, her father had never repaid them the money.
The couple claim that under the 2009 Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act the court may direct the bank to vacate its mortgage agreement right to hold on to the former family home at 90 HuntersWalk, Ballycullen, Dublin 24, as the only asset against the mortgage.
Their counsel, John Ferry, said they had an offer, until the end of July, of €150,000 from a buyer and they wanted to reduce their current mortgage liability of €484,000 by that amount. The bank had refused to allow the sale go through.
Ms Carass said she and Robert, now separated, had bought the house with a mortgage for €255,000 in 2003. In December 2006 they decided to remortgage for €470,000 when the house was valued at €525,000.
They were making interest-only payments of €1,200 a month and had paid her father, Tony, €240,000 for a site for which they hoped to get planning permission and for which they had never obtained title from her father.
She and Robert, with her father, had decided to set up a company which was unsuccessful and had been dissolved by her father following a disagreement with Robert.
Ms Carass said she and her husband split up and she was now living with her young daughter with her brother and parents in rented accommodation in Trim, Co Meath.
She and her husband were unable to meet the mortgage repayments and had asked the bank to allow them to sell the house. She and her father had talked to the bank about renting the house but the suggestion had never been followed through. The bank refused to allow the sale for €150,000 after having the property valued for €170,000.
She told barrister Caren Geoghegan, counsel for the bank, that repayments had been stopped on the mortgage in August last year and arrears now stood at €26,000. She said she was out of work and her husband’s income fluctuated. They could afford only €100 a month towards the mortgage.
Robert Carass told Ms Geoghegan he had returned to his own family’s business but could go for months without pay depending on trade.
Paul Keenan, mortgage manager with the bank, said he had met Caroline and her father but they had failed to complete an arrangement to rent the house and make interest-only repayments. Her father had told him they had decided to continue with court proceedings.
Judge Linnane will hear further evidence next Tuesday and will give her decision then.