FAIRY FAIL END­ING

Cou­ple lose Gold Coast home be­cause they can’t re­pay loan to build Dis­ney cas­tle in their back­yard

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - LEA EMERY

A GOLD Coast cou­ple have been kicked out of their house for fail­ing to re­pay a bank loan to build an elab­o­rate magic king­dom in their sub­ur­ban back­yard.

Jonathan and Le­keeta Leah Martin last month lost a lon­grun­ning bat­tle with the Com­mon­wealth Bank to save their 12-yearold Pa­cific Pines home after tak­ing out a $63,000 loan for a “replica Dis­ney cas­tle in their back­yard”.

The Martins blamed the bank for “ir­re­spon­si­ble lend­ing”, but the Bris­bane Dis­trict Court last month ruled that “credit cards weren’t dis­closed” and the bank had given plenty of warn­ing that the home would be re­pos­sessed.

A GOLD Coast cou­ple have been kicked out of their house for fail­ing to re­pay a bank loan to build an elab­o­rate magic king­dom in their back­yard.

Jonathan and Le­keeta Leah Martin have lost a long-run­ning bat­tle with the Com­mon­wealth Bank to save their 12year-old Pa­cific Pines home after tak­ing out a $63,000 loan for a “replica Dis­ney cas­tle in their back­yard”.

The Martins blamed the bank for “ir­re­spon­si­ble lend­ing”. How­ever, the Bris­bane Dis­trict Court last month ruled that “credit cards weren’t dis­closed” and the bank had given plenty of warn­ing that the home would be re­pos­sessed.

The court was told the cou­ple had orig­i­nally taken out a $150,000 loan for the Hemes Close four-bed­room home in June 2013. The pair orig­i­nally bought the home for $414,000 in May 2006.

Court doc­u­ments stated: “That loan was paid down to $86,942 when (the Martins) ap­plied for a top-up for that loan to $63,000 to build a replica Dis­ney cas­tle in their back­yard.”

That money was with­drawn be­tween De­cem­ber 2014 and June 2015. The bank was paid noth­ing after Sep­tem­ber 24, 2015, it is al­leged in the court doc­u­ments.

In her judg­ment, Judge Deb­o­rah Richards said: “This is on the ba­sis that (Mr Martin) had credit cards that weren’t dis­closed and that his in­come was not able to ser­vice the loan.

“The bank re­lied on in­for­ma­tion sup­plied by the de­fen­dants and on that in­for­ma­tion there was suf­fi­cient mar­gin for the loan to be ap­proved.”

Neigh­bours yes­ter­day said po­lice, se­cu­rity guards and trucks moved the cou­ple out of the home late last year.

Neigh­bours said they had not seen chil­dren at the cou­ple’s home.

The neigh­bours said they had seen peo­ple re­turn­ing to the home since Christ­mas.

The Bul­letin vis­ited the home yes­ter­day and saw a car parked out front and heard peo­ple mov­ing in­side, but no one an­swered the door. Mul­ti­ple at­tempts to call the land­line re­sulted in a busy sig­nal.

A sign on the gate warned peo­ple to ob­serve “farm biose­cu­rity”. The Dis­ney cas­tle was not vis­i­ble from the street. Ac­cord­ing to realestate.com.au, the four-bed­room home is worth be­tween $550,000 and $600,000.

The court doc­u­ments state the pair be­gan to pay the money back at about $1000 a month but then cut the pay­ments to about $450 a month.

The court judg­ment shows the Com­mon­wealth Bank lodged a claim to have the home re­pos­sessed in Novem­ber 2016. The Martins did not show up at a judg­ment hear­ing in Au­gust 2017 and it was ruled the bank could re­pos­sess the home. Two at­tempts to evict the Martins in 2018 were de­layed while an out­come of a com­plaint to the Fi­nan­cial Om­buds­man Ser­vice was fi­nalised.

The Martins then went to the court seek­ing for the or­der to have their home re­pos­sessed re­scinded.

Judge Richards heard the case and found “there can­not in my view be any doubt that the de­fen­dants were aware and re­spon­si­ble for this loan”.

She or­dered the ap­pli­ca­tion be dis­missed and that the Martins pay the bank’s le­gal costs.

A Com­mon­wealth Bank spokes­woman said the bank could not com­ment on in­di­vid­ual mat­ters.

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