Judge suspends Tandragee couple’s home repossession

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A High Court judge has ordered possession of a Co Armagh couple’s home - but put any enforcement on hold if they pay off their mortgage arrears.

Mr Justice Deeny offered the reprieve to Stephen and Lynn McCombe on condition that an extra £70 a month goes towards the overdue debt. He said: “If they do that, the order for possession is suspended and will continue to be suspended.”

The couple were taken to court after falling behind on repaying the interest on a loan for the property at Ballymore Road, Tandragee. They were said to be nearly £3,000 in arrears on the mortgage taken out in 2006.

Preferred Mortgages Ltd was granted an order for possession in September last year. But at an appeal hearing Mr Justice Deeny was told he had a discretionary power to impose a stay.

He pointed out that the lender was entitled to be repaid.

Sooner or later the couple are going to have to find the means to pay off the overall mortgage debt of just under £69,000 and due in 2024, the judge noted.

However, he decided they can stay in the house if they comply with an arrangement involving putting some of the surplus from income over outgoings towards the overdue debt.

“I propose to make an order for possession, but to suspend it on condition that Mr and Mrs McCombe pay the monthly payment which falls due on Friday, January 30, that is of £176.80 and in addition a sum that addresses the arrears,” he said.

“It seems to me that arrears must be paid but they should not be of the full amount because there are ups and downs in life and unusual payments.

“But there has to be a regular payment that will allow these arrears in the relatively modest sum of £2,973.83 to be repaid in a reasonable time as the lender is entitled to expect and I am going to fix that sum at £70 per month.”

Mr and Mrs McCombe were told to pay the usual interest plus the extra amount on the last day of each month.