Saturday 24 February 2018

Broken lifts, stinking sewage and incessant fire alarms - renter tells of shockingly poor conditions in Dublin complexes

Meadhbh McGrath

Broken elevators, reeking sewage systems and a fire alarm that goes off at all hours – these are just some of the issues that have plagued the tenants living in one Dublin apartment complex.

Shane* (29) contacted to share his story of living in a modern complex built in north Dublin.

He has been renting an apartment on the fourth and top floor for nearly six years, and lived in another apartment in the same complex for a year before that.

“The main issue since October 2013 is that the lift has been out of order (due to a fire) and has never been repaired despite persistent requests.

“This means that any parents with buggies, elderly or disabled people, or even just people with shopping have to traverse up to four flights of stairs.

“These stairs are also exposed to the outside, so are almost constantly wet and extremely slippery,” he said.

As well as a dirty staircase, Shane said tenants have been overwhelmed by the smell of raw sewage when making their way through the complex.

“The sewage system is having issues and absolutely stinks recently,” he said.

He said the development was “quite messy” and that many of the fire extinguishers have been vandalised and sprayed over parts of the complex.

“The fire alarm goes off several times a day, and has always just been turned to silence by residents due to it being an annoyance.

“Myself and my girlfriend would be sitting here cooking dinner or asleep and the fire alarm just goes off, and it’s horrifically loud.

“It’s like if somebody burns toast, for example, it sets off every alarm in the complex,” he added.

While security personnel were once very visible and “made a big difference” to the sense of safety around the development, he said he hasn’t seen any security guards in at least three months.

“There are now more kids in the blocks, gates left unlocked, and kids throwing paving slabs off the (supposedly) locked rooftop garden onto the ground below.

“Obviously someone getting hit by one will be a fatality from that height and with that size of a slab.

“I don’t even feel comfortable with my girlfriend walking down to the carpark alone, I would always accompany her down,” he said.

He often sees local youths roaming around as the supposedly secure entrance is frequently left open.

“The door to get into the complex, which is meant to be locked and accessible only with a key-fob, is constantly open due to people without fobs breaking the 'In Case of Fire' glass panel beside the door which overrides it,” he said.

When he first moved in in 2010, Shane managed to negotiate a rent of €630 per month for his two-bedroom apartment, which was suddenly raised last summer by €200 to match increasing rents around Dublin.

“I briefly looked around for somewhere else to live but as a person renting on their own in Dublin it’s pretty much impossible to get anything that’s reasonable unless you’re living with strangers,” he said.

However, after close to six years of dealing with security and maintenance problems, he said he’s had enough, and is hoping to find somewhere else to live.

“I aim to move out this summer,” he said.

* Shane's name has been changed to protect his identity.

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