Tuesday 18 December 2018

Man hospitalised as tenants forcibly removed from flat

Protesters outside the property in Dublin
Protesters outside the property in Dublin
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A man has been hospitalised after a group of men forcibly removed tenants from an apartment.

Last night, the men were occupying the apartment on Mountjoy Square, Dublin, and friends of the tenants and other residents of the building were protesting outside.

It is understood the man was taken to hospital suffering bruising to his ribs after he was dragged out of the apartment when the men forced their way in about 10am yesterday.

"We were in bed and we heard a load of banging - it was like a sledgehammer banging off something," said one resident of the building.

"There was a load of commotion and the tenants were all outside in the hallway in their pyjamas after being dragged out.

"There were around 10 heavies and they have now locked themselves inside."

Six tenants had been sharing the apartment.

The High Court issued an injunction before Christmas blocking the landlord, Paul Howard, from evicting the tenants until the termination of the dispute resolution proceedings with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

It was alleged Mr Howard sought to increase the rent by more than the permissible amount as the apartment is in a designated rent pressure zone.

The tenants lodged disputes at the RTB in relation to this and their cases have been heard. A spokesman for the RTB said the outcome of these proceedings had not yet been finalised.

Gardaí were called to the scene yesterday morning. A Garda spokesman said no arrests had been made, adding that "any matters or reported allegations arising from the incident will be fully and thoroughly investigated".

The men occupying the apartment did not respond when asked for comment.

Mr Howard has previously had orders issued against him by the RTB for retaining tenants' deposits and unlawfully terminating tenancies.

In May 2017, he was ordered to pay three tenants a total of €7,694 for terminating their tenancies and retaining their deposits after renting them an apartment in Mountjoy Square.

Michelle Connolly, of Dublin Central Housing Action, said: "We have been working with these tenants for about three months and they have gone through an awful lot. No tenant should have to go through this."

Mr Howard could not be reached for comment.

Irish Independent

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