herald

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Politician is ordered to leave family home so father can sell it

COURTS

Mr Hand outside the house
Mr Hand outside the house

Dublin City councillor Paul Hand has said he will obey a judge who ordered him and his brothers to move out of the home where he grew up.

Mr Hand's father Denis (61) won a court bid to force his three sons to vacate the house so it can be sold.

"This case highlights the need to change the law on family homes," said the 29-year-old councillor.

The independent representative told the Herald he has lived in the family home in Millrose Estate, Bluebell, since he was three. His father moved out of the property in 1995 when he was nine.

"My mother looked after us, her three sons, as a lone parent. She was paying the mortgage too," he said.

Mediation

When his mother died suddenly six years ago, his father had a legal claim on the house because the couple had never divorced, said the councillor.

The four men availed of a mediation service and it was agreed their father would receive 60pc of the proceeds of the sale of the house with the remaining 40pc divided between Alan (37), Stephen (32) and Paul.

The brothers agreed to move out by June 2014 but failed to do so.

Denis Hand, a catering supervisor, of Bloomfield Avenue, Portobello, told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that his sons had agreed at mediation to vacate the house by June 2 last year but they were still living there.

He said in an affidavit to the court that following a settlement reached at mediation he had employed an estate agent to view the house with the intention of putting it on the market.

He said the back garden was full of "rubbish and debris" dumped in it allegedly by his sons.

"The house was a complete mess with laundry and clothes lying everywhere," he complained.

He said there was a leak emanating from the bathroom and it seemed to have gone unfixed for some time.

The father told Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the affidavit that he had recently married and was now living in a bedsit with his new wife.

He said it was a damp room, and as his wife had a chest condition it was totally unsuitable for her.

Mr Hand said he was unable to afford new accommodation as he was maintaining mortgage repayments on the house as agreed at mediation.

He said there was no excuse for his sons' continued occupation of the premises as they had agreed to vacate.

The court heard that one of the brothers was a politician and two were engaged in further education. One, who had a job, had applied for a loan to buy out the father's interest in the property.

Judge Linnane said the house remained in the name of Mr Denis Hand and she granted him an order for possession against his sons, directing that they vacate the house by May 25.

expensive

Councillor Hand told the Herald afterwards that he and his brother Stephen found the rental market very expensive.

He wants to remain living in the area where he feels honoured to represent the people, he said.

His only income was his €24,000 councillor's salary. However, they will obey the judge and vacate the house.

The law should be changed, he said, to prevent an "estranged" parent who leaves having a bigger claim on a family home than the children.

"I don't have a relationship with my father but I wish him well," he said.

Denis Hand said last night that he needed "to move on" with his life.

"I wish them all the best. They are my sons," he said.

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