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Saturday 16 February 2019

Residents living in apartment block close to Taoiseach given notice to quit

  • People living in apartment block close to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's house have been issued with notices to quit from a receiver

  • Young families and couples living in nine properties received letters in the post last week

  • Tenants given the option of buying properties for €250k each but only have a week to inform the landlord if they are making an offer

Close to home: Leo Varadkar lives nearby. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Close to home: Leo Varadkar lives nearby. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

RESIDENTS living in an apartment block in Dublin West have been issued with notices to quit from a receiver just weeks after Christmas.

Young families and couples living in nine properties received letters in the post last week notifying them of the landlord’s intention to sell the properties.

Tenants living in Riverwood Hall apartments in Castleknock, close to the home of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, say they are “shocked”, with some fearing homelessness due to the lack of affordable accommodation available in Dublin.

They had been paying €1,100 rent per month for a two-bed apartment and are now facing a likely substantial hike to find similar accommodation.

Tenants were given the option of buying the properties for €250,000 each but only have a week to inform the landlord if they are making an offer.

Emma Byrne and her partner Alan Kiely have been renting in Riverwood for three years and described the timing as “ridiculous”.

“We’ve been looking around since we found out and the cheapest quote we’re getting is €1,700 and €1,800, which is a big jump,” Ms Byrne said.

“If we had have known this was coming around the corner after Christmas we wouldn’t have spent so much and now we’re looking at an increase in rent and the stress of finding somewhere else,” she added.

Another resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “Riverwood feels like home to us and we had already started saving to buy around here.

“We were paying €1100 per month and that was helping us save as it was really cheap rent.

“Our neighbour just had a new baby and done the place up late last year after asking the landlord. They never said anything about selling up. They put in new carpets, got cleaners in, threw out mountains of stuff. Sick really.”

One tenant also slammed how this is happening "literally under the Taoiseach's nose".

"We live directly across from Leo Varadkar and are in the middle of a housing crisis that is showing no sign of improving, so how are we meant to find somewhere or afford to buy?" they asked.

Tenants were given between nine and 12 weeks to hand over vacant possession of the properties.

Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin West, Jack Chambers, said this incident is "concerning" for all living in Riverwood Hall.

"One of the properties is vacant which brings the number to 9 even though 10 appear to be in the process of a future sale. It sets a worrying precedent for many families living in blocks of apartments owned by a single owner.

"The move goes against the spirit of the legislation.

"It means these renters, many of whom are families who signed leases in good faith, will struggle to find suitable alternative accommodation because of the huge housing shortage in Dublin West, could now face homelessness if the eviction proceeds".

Tenants received a letter from Hooke & MacDonald estate agents on behalf of the appointed receiver from Grant Thornton, who is the administrator of the estate of Liam Maye, who is deceased.

NAMA, which was owed millions arising from loans to Mr Maye, previously made an application to remove the widow of the late developer as executor of his estate and replace her with an administrator chosen by it or a court.

Mr Maye was an extremely wealthy developer involved in projects including Dundrum Town Centre and Dundrum Village, the Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge and in Adamstown, Dublin.

The receiver sent a letter to tenants on January 14, advising them: "Please note that I have succeeded to the interest of the landlord in the tenancy agreement.

"This letter is to advise you that as landlord we intend to sell the dwelling and that as a consequence we require it to be vacated."

A spokesperson for Grant Thornton said the notices are compliant with the Tyrellstown legislation as only 9 apartments have been issued termination notices and "Tyrellstown legislation is applicable to 10 properties and above".

“The tenants have been given an additional 28 days’ notice above statutory obligations to allow for alternative accommodation to be sought,” the spokesperson added.

A spokeswoman for the Taoiseach said that he will "respond to any requests for assistance."
She said in a statement: "None of Taoiseach’s constituents have been in touch with him or his constituency office about as of yet.

"He will look in to the matter and respond to any requests for assistance made in the normal way.

"Laws to protect tenants have been considerably strengthened by the Government and it is against the law for a landlord to issue more than ten notices to quit in a development at any one time.

"Also, long-standing tenants must be given several months notice so they have time to find an alternative place to rent."

Irish Independent

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