Monday 27 February 2017

Firm denies claims of 'mass evictions'

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

Twinlite was reported to be set to “evict” dozens of residents from as many as 208 homes at the Cruisepark development in Tyrrelstown. Pictured are some of the tenants of the development. Photo: RollingNews.ie
Twinlite was reported to be set to “evict” dozens of residents from as many as 208 homes at the Cruisepark development in Tyrrelstown. Pictured are some of the tenants of the development. Photo: RollingNews.ie

The company at the centre of an alleged plan to evict residents from their Dublin homes has hit back at claims that it is heartlessly turning people out on the street, insisting there will be no "mass evictions".

Twinlite, a company controlled by developers the Larkin family, was reported to be set to "evict" dozens of residents from as many as 208 homes at the Cruisepark development in Tyrellstown.

The residents there were described as facing "imminent" eviction.

According to Twinlite's Rick Larkin, however, the company manages only 103 houses in the area and no residents were facing imminent eviction. Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Larkin said Twinlite had informed 40 tenants their leases would not be renewed when they expire over the next 12 months.

"There aren't going to be mass evictions. Of the people who received notice that their lease will not be renewed, we are talking about a very small number of people," he said.

Twinlite built the 103 houses in 2008, and, after the crash, sold them property fund European Property Fund (EPF). The Larkins are shareholders in EPF but insist the company acts independently of them. Davy Stockbrokers is the investment manager of EPF.

A Davy spokesman declined to comment but noted that "neither Davy nor any Davy staff had any beneficial ownership of EPF or Twinlite".

Mr Larkin said EPF decided to get out of the rental business due to changes in the market and the jump in house prices.

He insisted, however, that Twinlite is giving tenants first refusal to buy their homes if they wish. Others will have the remaining time on their lease to get together the funds to buy their home or move. He added that if a house has not been sold by the time the lease expires, the tenant will be able to stay there on a rolling month to month basis.

"We don't want to be in the rental business, but we are not selling them off in one big bunch. We are selling them to families who want to make their home in Tyrrelstown," he said.

The notices that leases would not be renewed comes barely three months after Goldman Sachs bought loans tied to the homes from Ulster Bank. Mr Larkin said that sale had no bearing on selling the homes

"Goldman Sachs know nothing about this. The first people at Goldman knew about it was when they read about it in the press," he said.

"The idea that a deal was cooked up in a backroom of this big bad American bank to kick people out of their houses is absolute nonsense," he said.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Mr Larkin expects to sell about 15 of the 40 homes this year, with the rest followingpiecemeal after that.

He expects to sell down all 103 homes over the next four years. However, he made it clear that tenants will be offered first refusal on the property in every case.

The developer also dismissed the claim that there was a profit-sharing agreement between Twinlite, EPF, and Goldman Sachs.

Irish Independent

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