A Pacific Pines couple were unable to pay back a loan to build a replica Disney castle.
A Pacific Pines couple were unable to pay back a loan to build a replica Disney castle.

Disney castle dream costs Coast family their house

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 12-year 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 Hemes Close home where Jonathan and Lekeeta Martin wanted to build their replica Disney castle. Picture: Glenn Hampson
The Hemes Close home where Jonathan and Lekeeta Martin wanted to build their replica Disney castle. Picture: Glenn Hampson

The pair originally purchased 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That money was withdrawn between December 2014 and June 2015.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 as far as 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 home's landline resulted in a busy signal.

A sign on the gate warned people to observe "farm biosecurity".

A sign at the Hemes Close home’s gate. Picture: Glenn Hampson
A sign at the Hemes Close home’s gate. Picture: Glenn Hampson

The Disney castle was not visible from the street.

According to realestate.com.au, the four-bedroom, two-bathroom home is worth between $550,000 and $600,000.

The court documents state the pair began by 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 Shanghai Disney Resort castle.
The Shanghai Disney Resort castle.

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 to be dismissed and that the Martins pay the bank's legal costs.

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

"Taking possession of a property is always the last option after all other avenues have been exhausted and we work with customers over several months and in some cases years to try and resolve their financial situation," she said.

She said a number of steps were taken before a home was repossessed.



MAFS groom spotted at local AFL game

premium_icon MAFS groom spotted at local AFL game

'I've been spotted everywhere, it's insane.'

What will happen this season in the Wide Bay Premier League

premium_icon What will happen this season in the Wide Bay Premier League

Welcome to the new season of the Wide Bay Premier League

Science knows no gender for drone-flying Hervey Bay students

premium_icon Science knows no gender for drone-flying Hervey Bay students

The program teaches female school students about geospatial science