Tuesday 18 December 2018

Landlord ordered to pay tenants €12k after evictions - but he has a history of not paying renters money owed

Damage done to an apartment in Mountjoy Square after up to 10 heavies forced their way in and inset, landlord Paul Howard
Damage done to an apartment in Mountjoy Square after up to 10 heavies forced their way in and inset, landlord Paul Howard
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A DUBLIN landlord has been ordered to pay four tenants over €12,000 after he tried to increase their rent and they were forcibly evicted from an apartment.

Tenants Verena Lauer, Andrea Devoti, Madigan Johnson and Clement Mace were physically removed from their apartment in Mountjoy Square in Dublin’s north inner city by a group of up to 10 heavies in January.

Four determination orders have been issued by the Residential Tenancies Board against landlord Paul Howard.

They note that the eviction notices served on the tenants, and attempts to increase their rent, were invalid.

One man had to be hospitalised after the incident when a hole was punched through the door of the apartment and the tenants were dragged out.

Mr Howard was ordered to pay Madigan Johnson €2,175, Clement Mace €1,980, Verena Lauer €2,225 and Andrea Devoti €5,197 within 28 days.

When asked by Independent.ie if he has paid the money owed to the tenants, Mr Howard said: "Settlement agreements have been reached between solicitors that have been put on hold as the property in question is in receivership."

The High Court issued an injunction before Christmas blocking Paul Howard from evicting the tenants from 52 Mountjoy Square until the termination of the dispute resolution proceedings with the RTB.

A fund-appointed receiver then obtained injunctions against Mr Howard in January preventing him from interfering with a number of apartments in Mountjoy Square.

Counsel for the receiver, Ken Fennell, raised concerns in court over the safety of the tenants "who have a right to be in the properties".

It is understood a number of the tenants have since moved out of the apartment.

The Dubliner has previously been served a number of orders by the RTB for unjustifiably retaining deposits and terminating tenancies.

Bruno Clement (29), who lived in another apartment owned by Mr Howard, claims he is still owed €3,260 after he was evicted from his apartment.

"He kept calling me saying I wouldn't get back my deposit. I lost so much valuable stuff after everything that happened,” Mr Clement told Independent.ie.

“They smashed the door and eight men, like really muscular men, went into each room with flash lights and they put every belonging into bin bags and the two of them went outside on the street.”

Shower in the room.jpg
Bruno Clement's room had a shower in the corner and 'no windows'

Mr Howard said "should I even reply" when previously asked to comment on whether he still owed money to Bruno Clement.

A spokesperson for the RTB said determination orders are legally binding and should be complied with.

"If this document is not complied with in the allocated timeframe and the person seeking compliance with the Order contacts the RTB and requests that it be enforced, the RTB will, in the majority of cases, agree to take enforcement proceedings on behalf of that person."

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