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Waterford man's court ruling hailed as solution to Celtic Tiger era debts

A Circuit Court ruling involving the case of a Waterford man has been hailed as a landmark case in terms of combating Celtic Tiger era debt.

A 68-year-old Waterford man will remain in his home for the next 30 years on reduced mortgage payments after a ruling by the Court on Tuesday.

The Court overruled the objection of Ulster Bank to a personal insolvency agreement.

The man, relying on the state pension as a sole source of income, can now remain in his home for €93 a month.

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He sought financial help when he could not meet contracted €1,621 monthly mortgage payments. There was five years left on the mortgage.

The court heard that the man would be unable to afford standard market rent rates while he was also ineligible for the mortgage-to-rent scheme.

It was also noted that his chances of potentially securing social housing would be considered slim.

The man's house was valued at €210,000 with €97,000 left in mortgage repayments.

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It was proposed in The Court that should the man pass away in the next thirty years, by the end of which he would be 98 - then Ulster Bank could be re-imbursed the full mortgage debt by selling the property.

Landmark case

The case was devised by Dungarvan-based personal insolvency practitioner, Mitchell O'Brien. He told Deise Today that the case is one of a number of landmark cases across Ireland.

"We have a suite of solutions. Every case is dealt with upon its' own merits. This is a solution that will work for those who classify as both age-challenged and income-challenged. It is noteworthy that at the Central Bank's address to BPFI (Banking and Payments Federation Ireland) members, back in July. That was as a result of another case which we were involved in for a lady in Tipperary. A similar solution was approved upon appeal to the High Court."

O'Brien said that the case began when the man was 66, and that he would have been entirely reliant on the state pension. It was important to come to a solution as it was accepted that the man would not be working again given his age.

"When we started this case, we had a 66-year-old man retiring the following month. His sole source of income was going to be the state old-age pension. That worked out at about €1,075 a month. He was living in his two-bedroom home on his own. It was worth about €200,000 and he had a €97,000 mortgage remaining on it. He couldn't pay the €97,000 mortgage, as Ulster Bank were requesting it to be paid. We knew that we could forecast his income into the future. He wasn't going to get back to work after becoming an old age pensioner. So, we had to find a solution."

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