Saturday 21 April 2018

Secret cameras, hidden bunkbeds, windowless rooms - exposing Dublin landlord Christian Carter

  • Tenants tell how camera was hidden in room
  • DCC closed down accommodation as it was 'potentially dangerous'
  • One tenant slept in bedroom with no window
  • Texts reveal how Carter ordered nails to be drilled in door
  • Carter running up to 40 properties across Dublin
  • Number of associates running properties on his behalf
Pictured: Christian Carter (wearing grey hat) moving items of furniture from a warehouse in Drumcondra, and right, one of the rooms above the pub
Pictured: Christian Carter (wearing grey hat) moving items of furniture from a warehouse in Drumcondra, and right, one of the rooms above the pub
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

TENANTS who lived above a Dublin pub have told how they lost their deposits, a "secret camera" was hidden in a bedroom, and the locks were changed before they had to be evicted.

The seven tenants paid up to €4,600 rent each month - cash-in-hand - to landlord Christian Carter.

Carter, who is from Monkstown, was previously brought before the courts after an Independent.ie investigation exposed how he was renting a five-bedroom house to up to 70 people.

The 31-year-old is involved in the running of up to 40 properties across Dublin.

Christian Carter (grey hat) pictured at the warehouse in Drumcondra
Christian Carter (grey hat) pictured at the warehouse in Drumcondra

Independent.ie viewed seven of these properties and found them to be overcrowded, with up to 30 people living in some of the houses.

We can now reveal how a Dublin pub owner leased his bar out to a hospitality company, who in turn sublet the upstairs of the property to Carter.

Carter then had it converted into seven bedrooms. One room had no window and there was only one bathroom between the seven tenants.

In texts seen by Independent.ie, Carter told two of his associates to “Block the pub door in with plywood, put a million nails in it” in a bid to stop the owner getting access to the upstairs area.

One of the rooms above the Dublin pub
One of the rooms above the Dublin pub

This was because the owner demanded that Carter stop renting out the rooms when he returned to take over the property last summer. 

Carter also told his associates to set up a "secret camera" inside one of the rooms and to change the locks.

It is understood the camera was to see if any other tenants were moved into the property by the pub owner.

Independent.ie recently viewed the substandard accommodation. It was eventually shut down by Dublin City Council in November 2017 as it constituted a potentially dangerous building.

The kitchen area above the Dublin pub
The kitchen area above the Dublin pub

Former tenant Kevin Phelan (25) rented a room above the pub between 2016 and 2017 after seeing it advertised on Daft.ie.

He paid €630 in rent each month and never got his deposit of €600 back.

"I had looked at between 20 and 30 places before then and it was more out of  desperation than anything," Kevin said.

"It was fine at first but then the pub owner realised what was going on and he wasn’t happy. We didn’t know who to pay rent to then so we stopped paying Carter after a while and paid the bar owner instead. He [Carter] always had somebody else collecting the rent for him, we only met him once.

One of the overcrowded rooms in the Rathmines house
One of the overcrowded rooms in the Rathmines house

"After the locks were changed during the night and his [Carter’s] workers started drilling in the middle of the night, we started to look for somewhere else.

"One of the lads living in the house had gotten tired of it all so moved out. We found a wireless/remote camera put into the empty room. We presume it was to see if someone else moved in."

The bar owner continued to rent the property to the tenants for a few months as he didn't want to "throw them out on their ear."

"I had a rough, rough time because of all this. I had to call the guards here a couple of times," he said.

"My health isn’t great and this has all been really stressful."

Independent.ie can reveal how he initially leased the bar to Ducas Hospitality Management Limited back in 2015.

A group of men pictured moving mattresses in the middle of the night
A group of men pictured moving mattresses in the middle of the night

The four year lease stated rent of up to €26,000 was to be paid each year and the pub was to continue running as normal.

Conor Martin, director of Ducas Hospitality, subsequently sublet the upstairs of the property to Christian Carter.

A copy of the lease between Ducas and the owner, furnished to Independent.ie, stated the property was not to be sublet.

With tenants paying varying rents - up to €4,600 each month in some cases - that would have potentially generated tens of thousands each year in rental income.

Mr Martin runs a number of gastro bars across Dublin and is also director of a property investment company.

Mr Martin claims the pub owner was aware of the sublet but the owner denies this. He did, however, consent to the upstairs area being converted into bedrooms.

Mattresses and furniture stored in a warehouse in Bray, Co Wicklow
Mattresses and furniture stored in a warehouse in Bray, Co Wicklow

"I did this because I was advised it would add value to the property," the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, said.

Mr Martin was repeatedly asked to furnish written proof the owner consented to the sublet but did not respond to these requests.

He also did not respond to questions about how he came to sublet the property to Carter.

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said: "A Fire Safety Notice was served on 02/11/17 prohibiting the use of the Residential Accommodation at First and Second Floor levels, unless or until the works specified in the notice, were completed to the satisfaction of the Fire Authority.

"It was deemed that the Residential Accommodation, located on the First and Second floors of the premises constituted a potentially dangerous building, as defined under Section 19 of the Fire Services Act 1981 and 2003."

Christian Carter has a number of Irish and Croatian associates running up to 40 properties - located in Rathmines, Blackrock, Ranelagh, Dundrum, Clontarf, Rathfarnham, Rialto and Shankill - on his behalf.

Carter and his associates have been storing bunkbeds and furniture in warehouses in Drumcondra, Dublin and Bray, Co Wicklow.

In texts seen by Independent.ie, Carter told his associates to remove bunkbeds, partitions and furniture before property inspections.

At short notice, he will get bunkbeds and furniture moved out of the houses and into the warehouses before returning them when the inspections are over.

Below are pictures of Carter and a number of men removing mattresses and furniture from the Drumcondra warehouse.

Carter has continuously denied he has anything to do with the properties viewed by Independent.ie.

On his Facebook page, he says: "Christian Carter Rentals in Dublin and Ireland.

"Providing very affordable accommodation for international language students . With the shortage of affordable accommodation in Dublin’s housing crisis the price of a room in Dublin averages at €800 per month and the international study/work visa only allows a monthly earning of approx €800. Obviously this is not feasible for these students.

"The laws need to change to allow them to earn more.

The house where up to 70 tenants were living Inset: Christian Carter
The house where up to 70 tenants were living Inset: Christian Carter

"Currently I’m providing high quality city centre shared rooms for €200 per month for those in need.

"The rooms can be rented by one individual for €550 per month or as a maximum group of 4 for €800 in a large room. Ideal for UCD and Trinity students.

"In this market sometimes it’s not always possible for parents to afford to send all their children to college and pay the extortionate rent rates in Dublin. These houses give them the opportunity to do so. All houses have been passed for compliance for health and safety with the council."

His father, Colin Carter, also runs a number of the properties and carries out a lot of the maintenance and construction work.

He is currently renting out a property in Rathfarnham to a number of foreign nationals.

A concerned resident of the area said: "We are shocked to see the house effectively turned into a nine bedroom tenement. We have contacted the council a number of times but to no avail."

Independent.ie called to the two-storey house where Colin Carter is currently living and found 10 foreign nationals also living there.

clean shoes.jpg
A sign on the door of the house which Colin Carter shares with a number of foreign nationals

Neither Colin nor Christian Carter responded to requests for comment.

Last year, Christian Carter and Richard Stanley, owner of The Pines in Cabinteely, were ordered to pay €60,000 in legal costs after our undercover investigation exposed how up to 70 people were living in the five-bedroom house.

Carter was previously director of a property company called Red Sky Property Management, which has since been transferred into the name of Tomislav Cubic, who runs a number of properties on Carter’s behalf.

Mr Carter said he no longer has anything to do with Red Sky.

We previously revealed how Cubic rents a three-bed house in Rathmines to 23 women, with up to eight people sleeping in one room.

Mr Cubic said this property, and all the properties viewed, have nothing to do with Red Sky.

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