Dundrum block to be evacuated over safety concerns
THE EVACUATION of The Laurels apartment complex in Dundrum in south Dublin was ordered after “certain elements” of the building were found not to be in compliance with building and fire regulations.
In a letter sent to residents last Friday, Kevin Maguire of Mullingar-based management company Bennett Property, managing the property on behalf of the receiver KPMG, said tenants must vacate their apartments within 10 days. It said the evacuation would be for up to three months, after the management company discovered “certain elements of the building which were not in compliance with proper Building and Fire Regulations”.
Tenants who wish to terminate their leases will receive a full refund of their deposits and any pre-paid rent. About 130 tenants are affected. Yesterday, the high-end apartment complex, adjacent to Dundrum Town Centre, was quiet, with few residents at home and two security guards outside.
One young woman leaving in her car, the back seat full of boxes of her belongings, said that the uncertainty was the “worst thing”. She was sharing an apartment with two other young women and had been there for 2½ years.
There are both Irish and foreign-national residents in The Laurels, among them single people, families with children and elderly. There are 82 one-, two- and three-bed unit, 75 occupied.
Local TD Olivia Mitchell said the “deficiencies and threat to safety” highlighted the need for “much tougher legislation to govern the inspection and certification of new buildings”. She pointed out, however, the plight of these tenants was “almost enviable” in comparison to the residents of Priory Hall in north Dublin, who owned their properties and had to move out after fire safety problems emerged.
The Laurels was developed by a property syndicate, Tuskar Property Holdings, and completed in 2008. That company’s parent company, Tuskar Asset Management, subsequently collapsed with debts of €50 million. About 40 small-scale investors invested a minimum of €100,000 in the development. In 2010, Bank of Scotland Ireland, as the main creditor of the company, appointed a receiver, effectively taking control.
Pierse Construction, which carried out the construction work, also went into liquidation. It initiated legal proceedings against Tuskar and a number of the investors in the High Court in 2009.
The directors of Tuskar Property Holdings were Wexford-based accountant Alan Hynes and his wife Noreen Hynes. Mr Hynes was also one of the directors of Tuskar Asset Management. The Chartered Accountants’ Regulatory Board withdrew Mr Hynes’s practising certificate in October 2010. The apartments are effectively owned by the bank, and operated by receiver Kieran Wallace of KPMG.