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Julie Hoskin, a councillor in Bendigo Victoria, has won her fight with the Sheriff following the sale of her family home.
Cr Hoskin was issued with a Warrant to Seize Property by the Sheriff after failing to meet repayments on a $386,819.53 debt to Ask Funding following a family law matter which arose 10 years ago. In an Affidavit submitted to the Court Cr Hoskin indicated that she struggled to repay the loan because of a chronic fatigue diagnosis that kept her out of employment until 2013. This was followed by foot injuries in 2015 and shortly thereafter deep vein thrombosis.
The Sheriff originally scheduled the sale of the property in May 2017 however Cr Hoskin was able to negotiate a 3 month moratorium while attempting to secure finance to repay the debt. With her application being declined to refinance the Sheriff proceeded with the auction and sold the property on 23 November for $389,000. Cr Hoskin however refused to hand over the property and argued in Court that the sale price was unfair.
Cr Hoskin said in an Affidavit that the sale price of $389,000 was significantly less than the valuation of $750,000 to $825,000. It is alleged that the Sheriff obtained 2 kerbside valuations from the Valuer-General that priced the property at $450,000 in 2015 and $470,000 in 2017.
Justice Michelle Quigley, of the Supreme Court, ruled in favour of Cr Hoskins saying that the process followed by the Sheriff was fundamentally flawed and led to a sale significantly undervalue. She found that the Sheriff breached their duty to act reasonably in the interests of the Creditor and Cr Hoskin in which to obtain a fair price for the property. Justice Quigley went on to say, "Stopping the Final Auction would have been a reasonable step to take in all the circumstances and would represent a balance of the best interests of both the judgment debtor and the judgment creditor."
While Cr Hoskin is asking that the sale of the property be set aside, Justice Quigley will hear further submissions before handing down a Decision.
Source: Bendigo Advertiser - May 2018