Friday 9 December 2016

Twinlite offered Tyrrelstown homes to social housing agency

Tuath has not yet made a bid for the properties, but is undertaking due diligence, writes Gavin McLoughlin

Published 20/03/2016 | 02:30

Twinlite built the Tyrrelstown houses with financing from Ulster Bank.
Twinlite built the Tyrrelstown houses with financing from Ulster Bank.

The developers at the centre of a storm about Tyrrelstown residents being asked to leave their homes approached social housing agency Tuath with a proposal to sell it up to 40 of their properties.

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Rick and Michael Larkin, directors of construction firm Twinlite, have been under fire since 40 tenants at the West Dublin estate were told their leases would not be renewed, with their houses set to be sold.

The letters have prompted concern that the tenants will be displaced or left homeless amid a major housing crisis engulfing the capital.

However, it has emerged that Twinlite approached Tuath earlier this year with a view to the voluntary agency buying up to 40 of the 103 houses due to be sold, despite what a Twinlite spokesperson described as "apprehensions" about selling a large number of the units for social housing.

Tuath, which says that it was not its intention to displace any residents from their homes, has not yet made a bid for the properties, but said that a due-diligence process had commenced.

"As part of normal due diligence, the association was in the process of undertaking a scheme appraisal, including an assessment of whether it was feasible to acquire the properties with tenants in situ," said a Tuath spokesperson. Tuath recently acquired 32 apartments in Co Wicklow for €7.2m, using State funding.

Twinlite built the Tyrrelstown houses with financing from Ulster Bank. Those loans were later bought by Beltany Property Finance, an affiliate company of Goldman Sachs.

A total of 103 houses are set to be sold in the area by European Property Fund (EPF), which bought the houses from Twinlite and whose beneficial owners are members of the Larkin Family. The Larkins insist the planned sale did not involve any backroom deals with Beltany.

"As a result of regulatory changes to the rental market and improving market conditions, EPF has since decided to exit the residential rental business altogether and Twinlite, in its role as asset manager, is organising the sell-down of the houses," Twinlite said.

Several of the 103 houses are 'sale agreed' with tenants and Twinlite's 'plan A' is to sell the houses to tenants, as it believes that this would be the best way to hedge its bets on values. The company would also consider selling in blocks to investors over the next four years, the Twinlite spokesperson said.

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