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The Naas house-repossession story has taken an interesting twist...

And it doesn’t sound like it’s good news for the bank. A High Court judge has given Leeds Building Society until 28 July to prove they are ‘genuinely interested’ in a resolution.

Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

LAST WEEK A separated husband appealed successfully in the High Court for a week’s stay on the eviction of his former wife and their daughter from their Co Kildare home.

Kate Scully Owens had been seriously injured in a car crash two weeks ago which left her facing months of recuperation.

Leeds Building Society, the mortgage lender, were pressing ahead with plans to evict Kate and her and her husband’s 10-year-old daughter from the family home last Wednesday.

But today his appeal to the High Court (for respite from the planned eviction until at least when Kate has recovered) was heard, and Justice Gilligan ruled that Leeds has until 28 July to provide proof that they are ‘genuinely interested’ in a resolution that could allow Kate and her daughter to stay in their home.

The Owens have been advocating a mortgage-to-let option with non-profit organisation Clúid, although the bank had hitherto been unwilling to engage with that option, a pre-requisite before any mortgage to let process can happen.

Not surprisingly, Kate’s husband was extremely happy with today’s result. He has represented himself in all his court dealings saving a fortune in the process.

“Last Tuesday Justice Gilligan asked me to list the ‘numerous’ ways I feel we have been unfairly treated by Leeds Building Society, just one of which is their complete refusal to entertain a mortgage-to-let settlement,” he told TheJournal.ie

Following today’s hearing Leeds have offered to voluntarily halt the eviction proceedings for at least three months.

“It’s amazing how quick they are to engage when the courts and media are involved,” says Kate’s husband. 

They say that repossession is the last resort? That’s bullshit, certainly in my experience.
The evidence I supplied to the court today included documents and correspondence that clearly prove the bank weren’t interested in talking, and were quite happy to make a hospitalised mother and her child homeless without so much as exploring the settlement options presented to them.

The three month respite offered by the bank will not be sufficient to allow Kate to recover from injuries, which include a broken collar-bone and shattered pelvis.

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Leeds Building Society could not be reached for comment this evening. Previously they had told TheJournal.ie that “Leeds work with all customers who fall into arrears to get their account back to sustainable terms”.

Repossession is always a last resort.

“The real victory for us today is that Justice Gilligan is not leaving it so they can just resume the battle once Kate has recovered,” says Kate’s husband. 

The judge has given time for Leeds to prove they are genuinely interested in a resolution and has set a hearing date for July 28th. At that point he said if I was still disillusioned then the court would have to ‘delve’ into the details of our case.

He says the support he and his family have received from the public has been “amazing”.

After the case became public, I’m simply overwhelmed by the support from people who have been through the same wringer, and often with English banks as is the case with us.

He was also quick to thank Byron Jenkins of The Hub Ireland, David Hall and Stephen Curtis of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, and Dr Finbar Markey of the National Land League for their assistance to him when it came to his appearances in court.

“The process is extremely daunting – I could not have even begun without their assistance,” he said.

Read: A bank tried to evict a hospitalised mother and her daughter this week

Read: Here are the ways that banks are making life hard for vulnerable customers

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