THE IRISH TIMES 24.06.2013

By Fiona Gartland

A homeowner from Co Roscommon has successfully managed to have a repossession case against him struck out and also had costs awarded in his favour at the High Court today.

His case was one of seven taken by subprime lender GE Capital Woodchester Homeloans Ltd against homeowners in Dublin, Tipperary, Meath, Donegal and Roscommon all of which were struck out today.

The Roscommon homeowner had arrears of almost €108,000 on a loan of €300,000 taken out to purchase his family home. He had filed his own affidavits challenging the action including a motion to have the case struck out. He had handed in a letter to the court to be read by Mr Justice Brian McGovern when counsel for the lender said GE Capital wished to have the case stuck out. Counsel gave no reason for the strike out, and said there was no need for matters to go any further.

The homeowner said he was happy, but didn’t want the lender “coming back at me”.

“I’ve had five years of this and I don’t want any more of it,” he said.

Mr Justice McGovern said he could only strike out the case, but did not have the power to prevent the lender from returning to the court again with fresh proceedings. He did however, say the homeowner was entitled to the costs he’d incurred in bringing his own motion to have the case struck out.

In a second of the GE Capital cases struck out, counsel for the lender said his client had agreed to pay the borrower’s costs. The court was not told in any of the cases why they were struck out, but according to counsel for one of the borrowers, the letters of demand issued by GE Capital were flawed and were caught by a judgment delivered by Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne in May this year.

Also today, Mr Justice McGovern refused to make an order for possession for Stepstone Mortgage Funding Ltd after hearing the first default on repayments of the mortgage occurred only two months after the mortgage was taken out.

“It has not been a sustainable mortgage from the outset,” counsel for the lender said.

“Whose fault is that?” the judge asked. “What does that tell you about the adequacy of enquiries about whether this was a good loan to be made?”

He said it suggested “there wasn’t proper stress-testing done”. He adjourned the case to July to give the homeowners a last opportunity to appear in court.

Two orders for possession were granted, including one to Start Mortgages involving a family home in Co Mayo. The couple had three children aged from seven to 14 years and were not present or represented in court.

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