Dungannon man loses battle to save home after building up balance of £433,000

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A Dungannon man has lost his High Court battle to stop a bank taking possession of his home.

Gerard Herron argued there was no legal standing to seek recovery of the house at Viewfort in the town over defaults on his £320,000 mortgage.

But a judge rejected all grounds advanced by him in a bid to thwart Bank of Scotland.

Madam Justice McBride held that for nearly three years he has effectively lived rent free in a property now in negative equity.

Mr Herron, who represented himself, had been seeking to overturn a previous order for possession.

The court heard that in 2007 he allegedly took out a 10-year interest only mortgage with a division of Halifax Plc.

Under a subsequent re-organisation by HBOS banking group, Halifax business was moved to Bank of Scotland.

In a wide-ranging challenge, Mr Herron claimed Bank of Scotland did not have legal standing because it was not a party in the mortgage deed.

He also alleged procedural irregularities in the case, a lack of supporting evidence, and denied responsibility for the account or debt.

During the hearing he would not confirm or deny whether a signature on the mortgage deed was his, saying that it “looks like” his.

However, the judge held that he had signed the documents, and that liabilities transferred to Bank of Scotland.

She said Mr Herron has defaulted since 2011, with no further payments after August 2014.

With the outstanding balance now put at £433,000, the current estimated value of the property is £286,000.

“The total arrears is £64,970. It appears therefore that the premises is now in negative equity,” Madam Justice McBride said.

She noted Mr Herron was only in a position to make payments of £200 a month towards the debt.

Following her verdict, he indicated his intention to mount a further appeal.