Saturday 3 December 2016

45 people, 1 shower, up to 10 in a room...the harsh reality of life in a Dublin flat

Published 18/10/2016 | 02:30

Photos inside the Temple Bar flat show the extent of the overcrowding for the 45 tenants
Photos inside the Temple Bar flat show the extent of the overcrowding for the 45 tenants

Up to 45 people living in a five-bedroom property in Temple Bar, Dublin city, are paying €200 per month cash to live there.

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The building was previously used by a law firm and was advertised on the property market as an "office investment opportunity" with a purchase price of €475,000 last year.

Photos inside the Temple Bar flat show the extent of the overcrowding for the 45 tenants
Photos inside the Temple Bar flat show the extent of the overcrowding for the 45 tenants

There are eight to 10 people in some rooms, with one wardrobe between three or four people. Others live out of their suitcases. One bedroom is located in the basement area beside a number of filing cabinets. Tenants share one shower room, three toilets, a kitchen and a sitting room.

The property, viewed by the Irish Independent, has been rented out since the beginning of the year - and has had a steady turnover of renters, mainly students and migrant workers, it is understood.

The owner of the building has insisted he did not know 45 people were living there.

"I rented the building completely unfurnished and I rented it to one individual who was occupying it with his friends," he told the Irish Independent.

"I plan to look into it. I will deal with it as quickly and efficiently as I possibly can. Until now I have not been aware of there being any issue."

When asked how much he earns from renting the property, he responded: "Not as much as you think, but that is a matter between me and the guy I'm renting it to."

He insisted he is tax compliant and that the building is compliant with fire safety rules, adding: "That is all I have to say on the matter."

Fire extinguishers are positioned in the basement, but it is not known how many fire exits are in the building, if any.

Photos inside the Temple Bar flat show the extent of the overcrowding for the 45 tenants
Photos inside the Temple Bar flat show the extent of the overcrowding for the 45 tenants

"It is extremely worrying if the report that up to 42 people are living in a five-bedroom house is correct," a spokesperson for the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) said.

"Having checked the Register we can confirm that this tenancy is registered, as a terraced five-bedroom property. Given the serious health and safety issues raised, the property concerned could not possibly comply with the Housing Regulations 2009.

"In light of the information received, the RTB will write immediately to the landlord setting out our concerns for the welfare of the tenants.

"We will write to Dublin City Council, asking them to arrange an inspection of the dwelling."

Photos inside the Temple Bar flat show the extent of the overcrowding for the 45 tenants
Photos inside the Temple Bar flat show the extent of the overcrowding for the 45 tenants

Two of the tenants contacted, who are currently living there, claimed they signed no contract when they moved in.

They also said they pay their money to one man, who appears to act as the rent collector. This individual has not responded to any calls or messages.

A Brazilian man who recently lived there told the Irish Independent he had to pay a €300 security deposit.

When moving out, he was informed his deposit would not be returned unless he found someone to take his place.

"I was desperate for somewhere to live.

"I only had five days to find somewhere after finding out I had to move out of my other house, and I had heard about this place from other Brazilians," former tenant Carlos Eduardo Pupin said.

"At the time, I was paying €350 rent in cash and I didn't sign any contract."

If there are 45 people paying €200 a month, that would amount to €9,000 a month or €108,000 per year.

"Overcrowding is something that is becoming much more common and people are accepting dreadfully substandard properties as they are desperate," chairperson of housing charity Threshold, Aideen Hayden, said.

"Legislation needs to be sharpened up."

Dublin City Council has been contacted for a response in relation to any potential health and safety breaches.

Irish Independent

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