Monday 19 August 2019

'My wife was pregnant and we were told to leave'

Thirties Name: Edwin Mullane

Edwin Mullane at his home in Raheny. Photo by Kyran O'Brien
Edwin Mullane at his home in Raheny. Photo by Kyran O'Brien

Edwin Mullane won a wrongful termination of tenancy case against his landlord after his family were unfairly forced to leave their apartment on the Northside of Dublin.

The landlord claimed she was selling the apartment, but Edwin discovered soon after his family had left that a new tenant had moved in on a much higher rent.

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"Losing your home when you have a child and your wife is pregnant is one of the most stressful things that you can go through," says Edwin, who works in the arts.

"That is why I am passionate about helping others. The more we can do to help each other be aware of tenants' rights, the more we can do to cut down stress for other families."

Edwin's wife Elaine is a yoga teacher, and they now have two young boys, aged three and one. In 2017, when Elaine was expecting her second child, the landlord told them they would have to move out, because she was selling up.

"I asked the landlord if there was any way we could stay until after the baby was born," says Edwin. "She told us she wanted an extra €500 per month for us to stay."

The apartment was in a rent pressure zone, where landlords are not allowed to hike rent by more than 4pc. So the proposed increase of €500 broke that limit.

"We said that we could not pay the extra rent of that amount. And then she said she would have to sell the place.

"She told us she was selling but she made no effort to market the property.

"We were only out of the apartment two weeks when a friend of mine told me someone had moved in - and I knew no sale could be turned around in that time."

Edwin enlisted the support of housing charity Threshold and took a case to Residential Tenancies Board, which found in his favour.

"My generation has come into this horrendous ramped up market," he says. "Unless we start complaining or take action about this, nothing will be done.

"There is very little security for tenants in Ireland. I have friends in Edinburgh, Paris and Berlin - and they are not looking over their shoulder, worrying about what might happen if the landlord calls.

"We are very positive people and we don't want to be portrayed as victims.

"We just want to raise awareness of the rights of tenants in Ireland and the work Threshold is doing."

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