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Renters living in Dublin prefab apartments initially given just five days’ notice to leave

Landlord ordered to close prefab accommodation


Sol Palamos at the entrance to her prefab apartment on Liberty Lane in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Sol Palamos at the entrance to her prefab apartment on Liberty Lane in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Sol Palamos at the entrance to her prefab apartment on Liberty Lane in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Twenty-seven tenants living in prefab apartments in Dublin were ordered to leave with just five days’ notice after the building was deemed unauthorised and a fire hazard.

After an extension was granted, the tenants – who share one kitchen, three toilets and two working showers – have until next Friday, December 9, to leave their apartments, but said finding alternative accommodation is “impossible”.

The residents got a text message from the landlord on November 16 that told them to vacate the building.

The message, seen by the Irish Independent, read: “Unfortunately the building will close on Sunday this week. All rooms need to be vacated by 18.00 on Sunday 20th of November. That’s in five days time.

“I will have your deposit and any unused rent ready for you on the day you leave.

“I am really sorry about this, I have tried everything. There is a war on tenants and on landlords in this city.”

The building, made of prefabs, was deemed an “unauthorised development” by Dublin City Council after an inspection by a fire safety officer earlier last month.

Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, the council ordered the landlord to stop using the building for “residential accommodation” by December 16.

Another notice further instructed the landlord to remove the two-storey structure by February.

The residents are mostly foreign nationals made up of young professionals and students who pay between €500 and €600 rent each. They were given an extension to remain in the building until December 9 if the landlord fitted five fire doors.

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Sol Palamo (39), from Argentina, said she was “completely shocked” when she got the message.

“Five days was impossible to move out,” she said. “I was going to my college. I was going to have a financial accounting exam and I was so shocked. I thought, ‘I can’t do anything now’.”

Ms Palamo entered the apartment in July last year, having moved to Ireland three years ago.

“I don’t know what I am going to do,” she said. “I’m looking for somewhere and I have friends that are going to give me a hand, but I don’t know, it’s limited.”

She said going back to Argentina was a “last option”.

Fellow tenant Alberto, who is doing a PhD in nanotechnology, has decided to return to Barcelona.

He described the apart- ments as “tiny holes” that are 1.6 metres wide and three metres long.

“They are prefabricated containers, just one on top of the other one with some bricks,” he said.

He has a job as a researcher in a lab in Dublin as part of his thesis and said the housing crisis was affecting his work.

“I will need to tell my research partners I don’t know what is going to happen with my project because I am homeless,” he said. I can’t do research if I don’t have a house to live in.

“I had a great time in Ireland, but the house was terrible. PhD salaries are low – €18,000 – so if a room is average €1,000 without bills, I cannot pay this. That was my only option. I had to stay, but the house was terrible.

“We all knew the house was not in perfect condition, but the landlord never said he didn’t pass any tests or didn’t have any permits. He was advertising this on Daft.ie.”

He said the housing situation was “by far the worst” he had seen in Europe after studying in London and Prague.

“London is expensive, but at least you can find a place. In Ireland it’s impossible,” he added.

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