The Vulture fund pauses home redemption offerings amid claims it broke central bank rules

A vulture fund has agreed not to take any steps to repossess and sell a couple’s home after a court case was launched alleging it broke central bank rules by hiring a trustee for the property appointed.

Ars Capital Finance Ireland DAC, which disputes the claims, gave an undertaking to the High Court yesterday not to take any action to repossess, market or sell the property.

In a court case, Rodney and Viktoria Cadden of Malahide, Co Dublin are seeking a declaration that the appointment of receiver Mark Degnan over a house they own in Portmarnock, Co Dublin is null and void.

They are also asking for an injunction preventing Mars or the bankruptcy trustee from repossessing and selling the home.

At a brief hearing, the couple’s attorney, Tom Hogan SC, told the court that Mars and Mr Degnan had agreed to make the commitments pending the completion of the couple’s motion.

This was confirmed by Rudi Neumann, Mars’ lawyer and receiver.

Mr Cadden – owner and managing director of Hytech Ireland Ltd, a health technology company – and his wife Viktoria bought the Portmarnock property in 2006 but as their family grew they needed a bigger home.

Unable to sell it due to negative equity, they ended up renting it out in 2010 while renting another house for themselves.

Although the Caddens no longer live there, their solicitors maintain that the Portmarnock house remains the only property they own, it is their primary residence and therefore falls under the Central Bank’s Mortgage Arrears Code of Conduct.

They allege that the appointment of a trustee for the property violated the code because it prevents creditors from taking possession of a property covered by the code except by a court order based on appropriate proceedings before the district court.

In an affidavit, Mr Cadden said the couple fell into arrears in 2015 due to a change in financial circumstances.

Their lender EBS began a repossession process in 2020, only to sell the loan to Mars the following year.

He said the couple have tried to restructure the debt, draw up a standard financial statement and, despite legacy issues, reduce the debt on the original loan from €400,000 to €273,000 by the end of 2021.

However, last May 10, Mars obtained a substitute plaintiff order in the repossession proceedings that were adjourned until October.

Mr Cadden claims that three days later Mars made a “completely unreasonable demand” for the full €273,000 repayment.

He said the fund wanted full repayment within three days and would treat non-payment as late payment.

Mr Cadden said the couple immediately set about clearing any outstanding arrears, paying €18,000 over the following days.

However, he claims that those efforts were hampered by conflicting information from Mars about the amount of arrears and they were later informed of other arrears owed.

These were paid off in June and July.

Mr Degnan was appointed receiver in June.

Mars disagrees with the request and denies violating the code of conduct.

The Fund notes that the couple failed to meet their mortgage obligations and that Mr Degnan’s appointment was lawful.

The case returns to court in October. The Vulture fund pauses home redemption offerings amid claims it broke central bank rules

Fry Electronics Team

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