Monday 24 April 2017

Exclusive: The millionaire landlord raking in thousands each week from dangerously-overcrowded houses

  • Revealed: Up to €12k in rent being paid for each house per month
  • Owns number of overcrowded houses across Dublin
  • Sublet properties to management company because they 'pay enormous rent'
  • Claims there was 'no breach of regulations'
  • Director of three businesses but currently in financial difficulty

Businessman Jim Cuddy, and bunk beds in the overcrowded house in Rathmines that are visible from the roadside. Photo: Damien Eagers
Businessman Jim Cuddy, and bunk beds in the overcrowded house in Rathmines that are visible from the roadside. Photo: Damien Eagers
Bunk beds in the overcrowded house in Rathmines are visible from the roadside Photo: Damien Eagers
The house in Rathmines had up to 40 women living there. It has been described as a 'death trap'
Jim Cuddy
The houses on the Howth Road

Amy Molloy, Donal O'Donovan and Shane Phelan

A BUSINESSMAN who owns a number of houses being rented by up to 40 people at a time claims he is doing nothing wrong, remarking: "There is nothing unusual about this... sure what happens when you have 40 kids in a school?"

James 'Jim' Cuddy (67) has been issued with fire safety notices by Dublin City Council after Independent.ie exposed how a number of his properties across the capital are dangerously overcrowded.

Mr Cuddy, who lives in a 12-bed mansion in Co Cavan, owns four houses on the Howth Road in Clontarf and a property on Leinster Road in Rathmines.

An undercover investigation by Independent.ie revealed how these properties were being overcrowded with foreign nationals after the houses were filled with bunk beds.

The fire safety notices issued to Mr Cuddy
The fire safety notices issued to Mr Cuddy

The tenants were each paying €300 per month in rent, meaning each house could been generating circa €12,000 in income - or around €144,000 per year.

With five houses being rented to up to 40 people, Mr Cuddy and the management company subletting his houses could have been collecting close to €800,000 in rent for the year.

Mr Cuddy told Independent.ie that he leased the properties to a company called Red Sky Property Management Ltd and let them "do whatever they like with them."

Red Sky was previously run by Christian Carter (29) and his father Colin Carter, with addresses of Dunedin Drive, Monkstown and Grove Park, Rathmines.

Mr Cuddy claimed Red Sky "are in the business of accommodating students."

When questioned about the unhealthy living conditions in the houses, he responded: "Well, I’m sure they could move out if they wanted to."

He denied he had anything to do with the running of the properties, but when asked about the number of tenants occupying the houses, he said: "There is nothing unusual about this. That’s not a regulation. Sure what happens when you have 40 kids in a school?"

However, following inspections by Dublin City Council in January 2017, the houses in Howth were deemed to be in breach of fire safety regulations.

Independent.ie visited all the properties and the tenants were in the process of moving out.

The properties were also being guarded by individuals who were under specific instructions "not to let anybody in."

"We were told to move out after inspections were carried out. Most of us have found somewhere else to go," one tenant stated.

The houses on the Howth Road, formerly known as units 1-4 Howth Court, are now known collectively as 116 Howth Road, Dublin 3.

They are four semi-detached homes located in an estate which were previously rented to four families before Mr Cuddy acquired the services of Christian and Colin Carter.

The families all moved out and Mr Cuddy moved in up to 40 people in each house.

Dublin City Council issued fire safety notices in respect of no. 1, 2 and 3 and a spokesperson confirmed that if the notices are not complied with, "a person convicted for an offence may be liable to a maximum fine of €130,000 and/or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years."

The buildings concerned are also being investigated by Planning Control and Environmental Health Officers.

The house in Rathmines, where 40 women were living, was described as a "death trap" by a former tenant.

She claimed there is no way of exiting the building at the back in the event of a fire in the front of the house.

Millions of debt

Mr Cuddy is presently director of three Irish companies: Crossagalla Management Company, Irish International Abrasives and Cuddy Industries Limited.

Irish Abrasives is his biggest and most successful company - producing and importing abrasive products since the 1980s.

However, financial accounts filed for Cuddy Industries Ltd show that four houses at 116 Howth Road, Clontarf, are listed as security for an AIB mortgage owed by the business.

The accounts filed last November show that Cuddy Industries Ltd is majority owned by James Cuddy and has debts of €2.85m are secured over the houses and a personal guarantee of €2.88m by Mr Cuddy himself.

That means that if the business cannot repay the bank, the properties would be forfeit and Mr Cuddy would also be liable for any shortfall.

"This company pays enormous rent"

A source claimed Mr Cuddy turned his attention to the rental market in order to make "easy money fast."

The same source revealed how Mr Cuddy had been doing business with Red Sky for "quite a while" and regularly spoke about how they "pay enormous rent."

Independent.ie previously exposed how Christian Carter was subletting a property in The Pines, Lehaunstown, Cabinteely to up to 70 people at a time for €200 per month.

Legal action against "unauthorised hostels"

Following an inspection by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, this said property was deemed to be an  "unauthorised, dangerous hostel."

Mr Carter was ordered by the Circuit Civil Court to find the remaining tenants in The Pines alternative accommodation in what the judge deemed to be an "extremely serious matter."

The house had significant sewage problems and Judge Jacqueline Linnane stated the tenants would be "safer sleeping on couches somewhere, than in that house."

When asked about his dealings with the Carters, Mr Cuddy responded: "Oh god, no comment."

Speaking on Monday, Mr Carter claimed Mr Cuddy leased the properties to Red Sky and was fully aware of the situation.

He also claimed that the number of tenants occupying these houses has now been reduced after fire safety notices were issued by DCC.

"I have now resigned from Red Sky. The houses in Howth Court were of a better standard than the house in The Pines but there are now only 16 people in three of the houses and 10 in the others," he told Independent.ie

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