'I don't want to drag my kids through hostels or hotels or anything like that' - families fear being made homeless in planning row
More than 40 tenants and their families fear they will end up on the street following a planning dispute between the developer and the local council.
Some tenants, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they feared they would end up homeless despite only moving into the Larkfield House apartment complex on Coldcut Road in Clondalkin, west Dublin, on February 1.
Around half of the families face termination of their leases after they were issued with rent arrears notices by the landlord.
This was after South Dublin County Council (SDCC) confirmed it suspended payment of their Housing Assistance Payment (Hap) while An Bord Pleanála decided whether the developer, Cavvies Ltd, complied with planning permission when it converted the former Liffey Valley Fitness centre into apartments.
Permission was granted by SDCC in September 2016 for 27 apartments. However, there are currently 40 occupied apartments and several others used for storage, despite the council rejecting planning permission to build 48 residential units in July 2017.
Cavvies Ltd appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála on August 3, 2017. However, the appeal was refused last week.
Attempts to contact the landlord or property manager last night were unsuccessful.
SDCC suspended Hap payments, however the final outcome for tenants following last Tuesday's decision remains unclear.
Residents - including those who are continuing to receive Hap payments from Dublin City Council - fear they will all have to move as the homes were constructed without the proper planning permission.
Ironically, the tenants say they are delighted with their apartments, which are spacious and airy even though windows are only situated on one side.
Stephanie (32), a single mother of one, said she was facing the prospect of having nowhere to go after waiting for a council house for the past nine years.
"I will be homeless," she told the Irish Independent last night.
She and other tenants met a local councillor yesterday to discuss the situation.
But the meeting was fruitless because no-one representing the landlord or developer attended the meeting, said Stephanie.
The only information the tenants are getting is through media reports, she added.
Elizabeth (19), a single mother of two, said: "No-one was told about any issues with planning permission before we moved in.
"It's not fair on the people living here," she said.
"I don't want to drag my kids through hostels or hotels or anything like that," she added.
"I'm only out of care. I was in care for eight years and I had two small kids while I was in care.
"I have nowhere to go. There is no space in any of my family's homes. I have nowhere else I can turn to."
Peter, a single father of two, said the tenants felt like they had been hung out to dry through no fault of their own.
"I honestly thought somebody could step in and say, 'We have 44 families here, surely to God somebody can do something rather than make them homeless'."