Wednesday 23 October 2019

Landlord facing homelessness says 'it's just not worth the hassle'

Being a landlord in the capital a struggle: Mary and Yvonne Dunleavy face being homeless for four weeks over a dispute with a tenant
Being a landlord in the capital a struggle: Mary and Yvonne Dunleavy face being homeless for four weeks over a dispute with a tenant
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A landlord has said she wants to leave the business saying "it's just not worth the hassle".

Mary Dunleavy and her wife Yvonne have been renting out four properties in Dublin for the past decade.

Due to the recession, Ms Dunleavy, a former social worker, said three of her properties are now in negative equity.

"I don't know why anybody would want to be a landlord in Dublin today. It's not worth the hassle at all," she said.

The retired couple, who have two sons and five grandchildren, had been living in one of their properties in Templeogue, but had to sell it to pay off their debts.

"We fell victim to the recession like everyone else and we have been through hell. Yvonne was struck with sepsis last year and almost died so she can't work and I've retired so that I can look after her.

"Our finances have taken a huge hit and our only option is to sell our home, because our other three properties are in negative equity and we can't sell them."

Ms Dunleavy said she was forced to go to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) after the tenant refused to move out of the property.

"It has been a massive ordeal trying to get him out of the house. We gave him notice last February and he still hasn't moved out.

"We went to the RTB and it was agreed that our tenant would move out at the end of November but our house is being sold on October 30 so myself and my wife are going to be homeless for four weeks.

"The house is our property. We're paying the mortgage on it. But now we're going to be homeless for four weeks.

"If we had the money, we would have gone to court but that would take another few months at least.

"We're very grateful that we do have a place to go eventually. There are a lot of homeless people who have no options."

Ms Dunleavy said there is no protection for landlords and added that legislation is centred around the tenant.

"The RTB is disproportionately unfair. It is aimed towards protecting tenants and I agree with that, but landlords shouldn't be excluded altogether.

"There's a hatred towards landlords at the moment. We're portrayed as being evil and money-grabbers. We're trying to make a living too. It's not worth it being a landlord in Dublin anymore," said Ms Dunleavy.

She said she has had many problems with tenants. "We had one tenant and the house was left in very poor condition. Even the windows were broken. We took a case to the RTB and I was awarded €7,000, but sure I never got a penny.

"Landlords are left to pursue the award or bring it to court, which we couldn't afford. I'll never get that money.

"Once the other houses are out of negative equity I'm going to sell them off too. I don't want to be a landlord anymore," she said.

In a statement, the RTB said it does not comment on individual cases.

However, it said it provides a range of services to landlords.

"Our role is to be fair and impartial in the handling of all cases. We cannot be on the side of either tenants or landlords," said a spokesperson.

Irish Independent

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