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Wednesday 21 August 2019

'I had to leave when an investor bought my flat'

Sixties Name: Mark Robson

Mark Robson. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Mark Robson. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Like a good number of mature tenants across Ireland, Mark Robson owned his own house at one time.

But the 63-year-old lost everything in the crash of 2008, including his job as a lorry driver. "I could no longer afford my mortgage, so I had to give up my home," he says.

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After working in computer security for three years in Latvia, Robson returned to Ireland and rented a two-bed apartment in Ballivor, Co Meath with the support of a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)

"It was not fit for people to live in. There was mould and damp, which affected my health, and the roof leaked," says the widower.

Then, last year, an investor bought up the block of flats, and pushed up the rent from €550 to €900. "I was not told of the rent increase and later I was told that I was €600 in arrears."

Last October, he faced the threat of homelessness when he had to leave his flat.

"In Dublin, a landlord would not be allowed to buy a load of flats and almost double the rent.

"Landlords in Ireland are getting away with murder. There should be inspectors who check these places out."

Fortunately, Mark recently received support from the Alone charity, and has since found a flat close by, which is paid for through the HAP scheme.

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