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Couple made devastating discovery five years after buying their dream house

Couple made devastating discovery five years after buying their dream house

Jess and Jackie Morecroft from Gold Coast, Australia, described the ordeal as a 'slow-moving nightmare'

You'd reckon that after five years in the property of your dreams, your feet would firmly be under the table, the neighbours would know your name and you'd be sure it was your forever home.

But unfortunately for this couple, they were forced to pack up their belongings and bid farewell to the pad they thought they would grow old in after making a horror discovery half a decade after moving in.

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Jess and Jackie Morecroft explained that they snapped up the house in the Mermaid Beach suburb of Australia's Gold Coast at a mortgagee auction in March 2018 for more than $1.2 million dollars (£630,000).

But when they tried to transfer the three-bedroom property over to their names, they were left stunned to find that the house was at the centre of a family feud with the original owner, Hind Issa.

The pair were informed that a caveat - which informs a legal claim of interest for a property - with the Registrar of Titles had been placed on the pad by Issa, who claimed that the home had been 'fraudulently mortgaged by criminals'.

Despite the fact that the Morecrofts had bought the home, paid for it and had been living there for five years, it was still registered in the 83-year-old's name and they had no claim to it.

Issa alleged that her signature on the mortgage had been forged by a relative, which led to the sale of the property - that has since surged in value to a whopping $2.7 million (£1.4 million).

Jess and Jackie said it's been a 'nightmare' (ABC)
Jess and Jackie said it's been a 'nightmare' (ABC)

The pensioner, who suffers from dementia, and the Morecrofts then battled it out in court over ownership of the house last year, where it was ruled that Issa was the rightful owner of the home.

Issa - whose daughter represented her in court - was told that the couple had no legal claim to the pad.

Speaking to ABC, Jess said of the ordeal: "We bought the house, moved in, and then we got sued. It's just been this slow-moving nightmare ever since.

"We're here because of all this stuff that transpired before we were even buying this house.

"We've just felt sort of helpless and trapped. There is an endpoint here for us, which would totally ruin us... it feels very desperate at this point."

During the legal battle, it emerged that Issa had added the caveat on the property in a bid to stop the sale of it, but she later agreed to remove this following negotiations with the seller in exchange for $40,000 (£21,000).

The pair have since been awarded compensation (ABC)
The pair have since been awarded compensation (ABC)

The couple's lawyer argued that the removal of the caveat implied that she had no interest in the home, but Supreme Court Justice Lincoln Crowley dismissed this as she only did it in on the condition that she retained all her rights.

Jackie said: "Financially it's enormous, to lose everything that you've worked for. The government should be there to back us up, because we've done nothing wrong."

But in another twist, the Queensland government was then ordered to pay the Morecrofts $2.7 million (£1.4 million) in compensation for damages in relation to breach of contract.

The pair had spent $300,000 (£160,000) in legal fees fighting for the home.

Although the state government denied any liability and insisted they weren't responsible for the couple's losses, the Queensland Court of Appeal ordered it to stump up the money.

The couple said they were 'incredibly relieved' with the verdict, which they described as 'unbelievable'.

Jackie added: "It’s been such a long six years and to have the original decision confirmed unanimously was just enormous."

Featured Image Credit: ABC News

Topics: Australia, Home, Money, World News, News