Residents of a Dublin suburb are blocking the sale of a house repossessed by a mortgage company who lent a tradesman more than 10 times his annual salary at the height of the Celtic Tiger property boom.
Robert Marsh lost the family home he shared with his wife and one year daughter earlier this year after failing to make the payments on a €350,000 mortgage
The repossessed house is now for sale but 30 of the Marsh family’s neighbors have staged a protest outside the property as reported by the Irish Times.
They covered the ‘For Sale’ sign with another reading ‘Repossessed house – Buyer Beware – No Evictions’.
Marsh explained to the paper how he had taken over the family home in 2002 from his parents then remortgaged it – via a broker – with the Start Mortgages company for €350,000 in 2007.
“The broker sold it to me,” the 37-year-old told the Irish Times. “I went in to just seek some advice to see if I could engage with my lenders. I came out with a new mortgage.
“I got told that this mortgage company were brilliant at dealing with it, that they were new on the market, that they’d consolidate all my debts and they’d look after me.”
Marsh admits to taking advantage of the mortgage offer but also says he struggled to meet the repayments from day one.
He added: “I took the money. Okay, I took it, and I take responsibility for taking it, but I never should have got it, not earning €27,000 a year. It was irresponsible lending.”
In January, after he lost his job, father of one Marsh asked to bring the mortgage down to the house’s then value of €235,000.
The mortgage company refused and sent the Sheriff in to repossess the house later that month. It is now for sale for just €169,000.
Robert’s wife Anna said: “Everybody would prefer a secure home with a small child, especially moving out of the house with a one-year-old baby in hand. It’s very hard.”
A spokesman for Start Mortgages said it could not comment on individual cases. “We make every attempt to facilitate customers who find themselves in difficulty in order to establish a satisfactory arrangement regarding their arrears.
“Repossession is and always will be the last resort for Start. We generally agree satisfactory arrangements with the majority of arrears customers without recourse to repossession.
“In the small number of cases that result in repossession, customers will typically not have met their mortgage repayments in the previous three- to four-year period.”