Businessman Bernard Rocca seeks Supreme Court judgement in bid to avoid losing €1m home

Businessman Bernard Rocca and his wife, Theresa, may avoid losing their €1m Castleknock, Dublin, home which a vulture fund claims it is entitled to sell off against Bernard’s personal business debts of up to €2m.

Businessman Bernard Rocca seeks Supreme Court judgement in bid to avoid losing €1m home

Businessman Bernard Rocca and his wife, Theresa, may avoid losing their €1m Castleknock, Dublin, home which a vulture fund claims it is entitled to sell off against Bernard’s personal business debts of up to €2m.

Senior counsel Eanna Mulloy for the couple has asked Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court to consider stating a case to the Supreme Court for consideration of the effect of Section 92 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009.

The Section simply states: “Notwithstanding any stipulation to the contrary, a mortgagor is entitled to redeem any housing loan mortgage without having to pay any money due under any other mortgage with the same mortgagee, whether that other mortgage is of the same or other property.”

Havbell, which bought all of Rocca’s loans at a discounted rate from Permanent TSB bank, claims the €2m business buy-to-let loans are guaranteed on the Rocca family home at 30 Woodberry, Castleknock.

Mr Mulloy, who appeared with Tim Dixon BL and P.B. Cunningham Solicitors, told Judge Linnane that a home renovation loan taken out in both Bernard and Theresa’s names in 1998 had been paid off all but for 10c.

He said only €131,000 was still outstanding on the initial mortgage taken out by Bernard Rocca before he and Theresa married.

“That €131,000 is today resting in the client account of the Rocca’s family solicitor P.B .Cunningham ready to be handed over to Havbell on the undertaking that the fund will release the mortgage charges it holds against 30 Woodberry, Castleknock,” Mr Mulloy said.

He said Havbell wanted the two outstanding debts of €131,000 and also the one for 10c paid off and still be able to retain the guarantee charges on their home against the €2m loans.

Barrister Gary Hayes said that Mr Rocco had taken out the original mortgage on his home in 1996 and a much smaller renovation mortgage had been taken out in both his and his wife’s name for a much smaller sum but this had been paid all but a few cents.

Mr Hayes, who appeared with Sherwin O’Riordan Solicitors for the fund, said that when Mrs Rocca had co-signed with her husband for the lesser renovation mortgage it included a clause relating to all existing or future loans which left both parties, including their family home liable as security against the €2m business loan.

Judge Linnane was told this was why Havbell could not release the charges against the existing two house mortgages even on full payment and satisfaction of these mortgages.

Mr Hayes said Havbell was seeking a possession order against the Rocca’s family home and Judge Linnane carried out a full documentary inquiry into the fund’s re-possession application. The judge said she would reserve judgment on all matters.

The court heard that if a case was stated to the Supreme Court on the applicability of Section 92 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2008 to the Rocca loans it could take two years or more before the matter was decided.

Mr Mulloy said the issues created by Section 92 had not been fully litigated and should be considered by the Supreme Court. He said that should the Circuit Court refuse to state a case an appeal could be made to the High Court to do so.

Judge Linnane’s judgment is expected before the end of July.

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