Friday 22 September 2017

'People power' victory for campaigners as evictions of apartment tenants withdrawn

The Strand apartment blocks, Limerick, where some tenants had been given eviction notices. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22.
The Strand apartment blocks, Limerick, where some tenants had been given eviction notices. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22.

David Raleigh

Campaigners have claimed a victory for "people power" after eviction notices to tenants in a Limerick apartment complex were withdrawn.

Residents in the upmarket Strand apartment complex in the city had faced uncertainty following termination notices being sent.

But last night a statement released on behalf of the owners of Sova Properties Ltd stated the eviction notices had been withdrawn.

"Sova Limited has written to tenants at the Strand apartment complex in Limerick to confirm its commitment to respecting the spirit and the letter of the upcoming Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 which is being brought into effect next week," the statement read.

"To further underpin that commitment Sova has withdrawn all termination notices that are currently outstanding in respect of tenants at the Strand apartments in Limerick City. Sova has also indicated that any future apartment sales at the Strand will be progressed in a measured manner and at a pace that would enable any tenants wishing to purchase apartments at market price to do so."

Read more: Residents at city apartment block vow to fight vulture fund to keep their homes

Sova Properties Ltd, a subsidiary of Lalco Properties Ltd, entered Nama in 2010 with net liabilities of €64m and €118m in back loans. Nama sold the debt to US vulture fund Oaktree Capital.

It is believed that around 30 residents have already walked away from their Strand apartments after receiving similar eviction notices over the past 12 months.

The latest batch of eviction orders are said to involve around 16 residents who were ordered before Christmas to vacate their homes.

A statement from the Department of Housing said the decision by the owners followed contact from Housing Minister Simon Coveney in which he asked that the spirit of the Tyrrelstown amendment, which does not take effect until next week, would be respected.

Mr Coveney welcomed the decision as providing "an important reassurance for households who had been facing significant uncertainty".

Local AAA councillor Cian Prendiville, who had organised residents to fight the eviction orders, claimed it was a victory for "people power".

"This shows that when people get organised and stand up for themselves, they can defeat these vulture funds," he said.

Irish Independent

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