Thursday 14 December 2017

Dozens unlawfully rented accommodation in dangerous, unhealthy and cramped 'unauthorised hostel', court hears

The rooms at The Pines, Lehaunstown, Cabinteely. Photo:
The rooms at The Pines, Lehaunstown, Cabinteely. Photo:

Ray Managh

Dozens of South Americans and Eastern Europeans are unlawfully being rented “living space” in a single Co Dublin house in dangerous, unhealthy and cramped conditions, a court heard today Monday.

Barrister Liam O’Connell told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that next Friday he would be asking her to order Richard Stanley to immediately end the use of his property at The Pines, Lehaunstown, Cabinteely, “as what can only be described as an unauthorised hostel.”

Mr O’Connell, who appeared in the Circuit Civil Court with Dunlaoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s law agent Dorothy Kennedy, said the overcrowded private dwelling was considered a fire and health risk.

“It has come to the council’s notice that the three-storey dwelling is being used as other than a private dwelling with up to 17 individuals in one room and about 36 people housed in the basement,” Mr O’Connell told the court.

Aonghus O Neill, a planning inspector with the local authority, told the court in a sworn affidavit that the Lehaunstown house, on four levels, was registered at the Land Registry in the name of Richard Stanley as owner. 

It comprised a basement with two rooms, a ground floor, first floor and attic level.

Mr O’Connell told Judge Linnane that the County Council had become aware of reports that up to 70 people were being accommodated in the house and for health and safety reasons had carried out an inspection.

He said Mr O’Neill and another council inspector, Aidan Shannon, found that almost every room they could obtain access to had been filled with either double-beds or bunk beds.

Loose electrical cord providing power to a washing machine and two tumble dryers at the top of a stairs leading to the basement had to be avoided. 

In a boiler room there were no smoke or heat detectors and flammable materials were scattered about the room.

One room in the basement contained 11 bunk beds and a second room contained five bunk beds and two double beds.  There were electrical extension cables across the floor. Each of the beds appeared to have been recently slept in.

They had found a communal dining room and a living room which had been turned into dormitories.  Three rooms on the first floor had been locked shut.

Mr O’Connell said the use of the property had changed from that of a private dwelling to one involving the provision of accommodation to paying customers in the course of commercial activity whereby occupants were accommodated in large communal dormitories.

He said the County Council would be seeking an injunction restraining the continued use of the house as a multi-occupancy dormitory property.

Mr O’Connell said the council had sought undertakings from Mr Stanley to terminate multi-occupancy forthwith and to arrange for and provide suitable accommodation for those people currently accommodated there.

Judge Linnane said that out of consideration for the plight of the people currently living in the property she would not grant immediate restraints or injunctions but would deal with the matter on Friday on notice to Mr Stanley. previously reported on this property and the matter is yet to be determined on by the court.

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