Friday 16 November 2018

'I’m searching on Facebook to find somewhere to sleep' - Second mass eviction by 'mystery' landlords in one week

The overcrowded houses were sold in February, according to the Property Price Register

Tenant Washington Bertolino da Silvo (33) packs up his belongings
Tenant Washington Bertolino da Silvo (33) packs up his belongings
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Tenants living in Dublin’s north inner city are being forced out onto the streets by a group of “mystery” landlords in what is the second mass eviction in one week.

Up to 40 tenants have been told to vacate two houses in Summerhill for fire safety reasons.

Dublin Fire Brigade inspected the properties on Tuesday and found them to be in breach of fire safety regulations.

However, according to the Property Price Register, these two houses were each sold for €350,000 three months ago.

Tenants were not notified in writing of the eviction and were told by people acting on behalf of the property owners that they need to leave.

Last week, tenants living in two separate houses on the same street were evicted under similar circumstances.

Washington Bertolino da Silva (33), who has lived in one of the houses for two years, spoke to Independent.ie as he was packing up his belongings and searching on Facebook for somewhere to spend the night.

“I arrived here in 2016 and found out tonight we have to leave. I had to go to Penneys to buy suitcases and stuff to pack up my whole life. The conditions are not great but we have no other choice.

“At least in my room there are no bunkbeds and I only share with one other person... now I am searching in Facebook groups for somewhere to sleep. Look at all my suitcases, where can I go,” he said.

This house is divided into three flats shared by 24 people altogether.

One of the rooms previously shared by three women
One of the rooms previously shared by three women

The five neighbouring houses are rented in the exact same manner, with people sleeping in the basement, the middle floors and in the attic.

Read more: 'Everyone needs to get the f**k out' - Up to 40 tenants living in slum-like conditions threatened with eviction

Washington has been paying his rent to a Brazilian middleman who goes by ‘Wesley’.

Independent.ie has contacted him for comment.

Another tenant, who did not want to be identified as they feared not getting their deposit back, said: “We were told we need to get out today. I have been paying rent of €330 and I share with three others. These guys are getting thousands of euro each month. There is a guy who always takes the money.

“It is very hard to get repairs. Whenever we asked, it was never done. We don’t know the owners are, it is a mystery.”

Five other properties on the same street - including the two where up to 40 tenants were evicted last week - were all sold on the same date in December 2016.

The details of the new owners have not yet been recorded with Land Registry.

Independent.ie viewed the four houses where tenants have been evicted from and witnessed slum-like conditions in each of them, as the video footage shows.

Tenant Pedro Martinez (25), who lived in a tiny box room in the attic of one of the houses, said: “We were told originally that there would only be six people in the house but there are five in the basement, eight in the middle floor and five up in the attic.

“An Irish guy came around earlier saying everyone needs to get the f**k out. I had to leave my job to come back here to see what was happening. We had been raising concerns about the lack of emergency exits and fire safety stuff and then suddenly, the guy comes along saying we need to get out.

“Unfortunately, we have no choice but to live in these conditions.”

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