Monday 24 April 2017

'Nothing unusual about 40 people in a house'

Landlord raking in thousands from overcrowded properties

The overcrowded property in Rathmines. Photo: Damien Eagers
The overcrowded property in Rathmines. Photo: Damien Eagers
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A businessman who owns a number of houses being rented by up to 40 people at a time claims he is doing nothing wrong, saying: "There is nothing unusual about this... 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 tenants were each paying €300 a month in rent, meaning each house could been generating circa €12,000 in income - or around €144,000 a 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.

Businessman Jim Cuddy
Businessman Jim Cuddy

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

Mr Cuddy told how 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 last month, 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 houses on the Howth Road, formerly known as units 1-4 Howth Court, are now known collectively as 116 Howth Road.

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 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.

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 a month.

Following an inspection by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, it said the property was deemed to be an "unauthorised, dangerous hostel".

Speaking yesterday, Christian Carter claimed that the number of tenants occupying these houses has now been reduced after fire safety notices were issued by Dublin City Council.

"I have now resigned from Red Sky," he told the Irish Independent.

"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."

Irish Independent

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