The Irish Court of Appeal has upheld the assignment of a vulture fund as the owner of a mortgage debt against a man’s house, after he challenged the legality of the transferring of the charge ownership from that of his bank to the fund.
Mr Rolf Kane had fallen into arrears on his mortgage repayments following the granting of a mortgage in 2006 by Bank of Scotland Ireland (BOSI). In 2010, BOSI reintegrated with Bank of Scotland (BOS), and sold a number of mortgages on to the US based vulture fund Tanager Designated Activity Company.
In 2014, Tanager became the registered owner of the charge against Mr Kane’s family home, and sought a repossession order from the courts in 2015 following Mr Kane’s descent into mortgage arrears.
Mr Kane alleged that the charge on his house was invalid. This was due to the fact that it came under the ownership of Tanager from Bank of Scotland following reintegration with BOSI, and Mr Kane claimed that this charge was never registered with BOS back in 2010.
He asserted that BOS was never the registered owner of the arrears and therefore no entitlement existed to transfer the ownership of the debt to a vulture fund, and the Property Registration Authority (PRA) had made a mistake in registering Tanager as owner of the charges.
The case had been referred to the Court of Appeal by the High Court, after Tanager had appealed a Circuit Court decision that refused its application for a repossession order. The Court of Appeal subsequently declared that the registration of title ownership is conclusive evidence of a charge on a property.
The Court cited Section 64 of the Registration of Title Act 1964, which governs the way in which the registered owner of a charge may transfer said ownership, and Section 90 which lays down the powers of a person entitled to be the registered owner of such a charge.
In applying the legislation to the transfer of ownership from BOS to Tanager, the Court of Appeal found that Tanager was entitled to be registered as the owner of the charge. It was declared that it was not open for Mr Kane to challenge the validity of such a registration.
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