Mortgagee ignores sick man's plea for humanity

02:51, Dec 07 2013
james barber
WHAT NOW?: James Barber in Oxford hospital recovering from spinal surgery.

The auction of an elderly Christchurch man's retirement unit will go ahead, despite him pleading from a hospital bed for the mortgagee to ''show some humanity''.

James Barber, 77, said he found out his unit in the Crossdale Courts retirement complex was up for auction when he received a call from his neighbour while recovering in hospital from spinal surgery last week.

The Press highlighted Barber's plight yesterday, when  he begged mortgagee Massolit Limited to delay the auction, earmarked for December 17, until he is discharged from hospital and well enough to negotiate.

Barber's story sparked more than 100 online comments and resulted in a reader setting up an online fundraising page to help his cause. Click here to help out James Barber.

Barber is one of the last remaining residents of the Upper Riccarton retirement complex that has faced legal battles since 2008 when its owner went bankrupt, fled to Australia and left residents to face the finance companies alone.

The residents had all paid personal loans from $40,000 up to $80,000 for the licence to occupy the units until death - but the finance companies had no legal obligation to honour the residents' contracts and began evicting them.

Massolit filed an application with the High Court to conduct the sale of Barber's unit and Auckland-based law firm Carter Kirkland Morrison is acting on the company's behalf.

Mark Kirkland, a partner in the law firm, said the auction would go ahead despite Barber's plea.

''It is not going to be delayed."


The Press