Tuesday 21 May 2019

Shane Phelan: New law comes too late for residents of Strand complex

Tara Robinson, who has been a tenant of the Strand Apartments for nearly six years but is now due to be evicted in April. Photo: Liam Burke
Tara Robinson, who has been a tenant of the Strand Apartments for nearly six years but is now due to be evicted in April. Photo: Liam Burke
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The tenant protection law known as the 'Tyrrelstown Amendment' is set to come into force next week.

Designed to stop landlords selling 10 or more units at a time and evicting tenants, the new law will mimic protections already in place in many other European countries.

It is hoped the amendment will stop mass evictions being triggered by vulture funds.

Some of these funds have forced landlords to evict tenants so houses can be sold with vacant possession. They figure the properties will fetch a higher price if sold without tenants.

The amendment was introduced following the scandalous treatment of residents in Tyrrelstown, Dublin, where mass evictions were planned last year. The tenants managed to win their case at the Private Residential Tenancies Board, but many still face an uncertain future.

After much wrangling in the Dáil, the new law was introduced so another Tyrrelstown could not happen. It is galling then that it has come too late for several residents of The Strand apartments in Limerick, who were served with eviction notices in recent months at the behest of vulture fund Oaktree Capital Management.

The legislation cannot act retrospectively, so only residents issued with eviction notices after next week's enactment of the law will be covered by it.

Residents at The Strand are fighting back, querying the validity of the eviction orders, but they now face a period of uncertainty, with no guarantee they can prevail.

The new law may be too late for them, but it will come just in time for hundreds of others.

The coming two years will see vulture funds ramp up the disposal of assets.

Most of these funds are only here for a quick buck and, having hoovered up loan portfolios in 2014 and 2015, they will be seeking a return on their investment this year and next.

This means a flurry of mass property sales are on the cards.

Irish Independent

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