A Stratford couple who spent over a year and $40,000 on lawyers to get possession of a house they already owned are warning about the pitfalls of mortgagee sales.
Penny and Michael Gavan excitedly purchased their first home in February last year. They paid $260,000 at a mortgagee auction.
But it took 15 months from the time of purchase until they were able to enter the property - with the help of five police officers and two bailiffs.
The trouble came when the previous owner of the house, Renee Searancke, refused to leave. He told Fair Go he believed the house wasn't security on a mortgage.
The house was sold by TSB bank to the Gavans after Searancke stopped making mortgage repayments.
The Gavans were informed before the auction that the property may be occupied but they thought getting the house vacated would take a few weeks.
The police would not intervene, deeming it a "civil" matter. It was only after the Gavans applied to the courts that they made some headway.
Penny Gavan has some simple advice for anyone considering buying a property through a mortgagee sale.
"My advice is don’t. Just don’t."