Court rules that Right of Residence of

elderly Mother trumps Bank's legal

charge against property

The High Court in Dublin has handed down an important ruling relating to the priorities pertaining to a Right of Residence vis-à-vis a bank’s legal charge on a property.

Mrs. Ethna Ryan a 93 year old widow residing on the family farm with her son succeeded in an Action against Bank of Ireland the owners of a legal charge against the property in an amount of €1.4m when she sought a Declaration from the Court that her Right of Residence and support ranked as a first charge in priority to the bank’s legal charge over the property.

Ms. Justice Pilkington ruled that the Plaintiff is entitled to continue to reside at her family home regardless of a Judgment for €779,000 against her son Bryan Ryan who is the owner of the house and 135 acre farm which he inherited from his late father Laurence Ryan who was the Husband of the Plaintiff Ethna Ryan. Laurence Ryan in his Will bequeathed €20,000 to Ethna Ryan and stipulated that his Widow should have a Right of Residence and support in the property for her life.

In 2015 the Plaintiff Ethna Ryan had sued her son seeking Orders requiring him to support and maintain her in the property as set out in her late Husband’s Will and that he carry out all necessary repairs on the house. Bryan Ryan did not defend those Proceedings stating that he did not wish to drag the family through the Courts and in 2016 the Court gave Judgment in favour of Ethna Ryan against Bryan Ryan in the sum of €779,225. This sum was broken down as follows:

a) Value of Right of Residence €428,000
b) Repairs to the house €281,000
c) Repairs to roof on the house €60,000

The Bank appeared to imply that the Judgement by Ethna Ryan against her son was contrived in an attempt to thwart the bank’s effort to realise its security. The Court ruled that the obligation to maintain the property and support Ethna Ryan lay with her son under the terms of the Will and ruled that the Plaintiff was entitled to remain in the house in accordance with the terms of the Will regardless of the charge against the property in favour of the Bank. The Court ruled that those rights only extended to the house and not to the farmland surrounding the house.

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This document is for information purposes only and does not purport to represent legal advice.  
© O’Rourke Reid 2020