Limerick woman vows to fight eviction notice

Tara Robinson (43) has been told to vacate her home after order by US vulture fund

Residents of the Strand Apartments Complex in Limerick have vowed to fight an attempt by a US vulture fund to evict them from their homes. Video: Enda O'Dowd

 

A Limerick woman has vowed to fight an attempt by a US vulture fund to evict her from her home.

Shortly before Christmas, Tara Robinson (43) received a letter stating she was to vacate her home of seven years at The Strand Apartments Complex in the city by April 19th.

The majority of the apartments in the complex are owned by Sova Properties Ltd, a subsidiary of Lalco Holdings Ltd.

According to the latest filed company accounts, for 2014, Sova has net liabilities of €64 million and bank loans of €118,407,352.

The company’s debt was transferred to Nama on August 13th, 2010, before Nama sold the loans to Oaktree Capital Management on July 21st, 2016.

Oaktree then directed Sova to sell the apartments by vacant possession.

“I found the eviction notice in my letterbox when I got home from work,” Ms Robinson said.

“It explained that the apartments were going to be sold by June 2017, and that they were not going to be sold with any tenants in them; basically they were asking people to leave and that the apartments would be sold by vacant possession, that they would all be sold through auction to the highest bidder so they could make as much money from them as possible.

“I checked if there was any possibility of making any kind of offer and I was told the apartments were very desirable at the moment, and while there was a reserve price on them, it was expected they would achieve a good price.”

Ms Robinson, who said she never missed the €700 monthly rent payment on her one-bed apartment, added: “I’m angry. I just can’t believe it. I paid my rent on time throughout a horrible recession.

“I’ve been living there seven years; it’s my home. The fact that some faceless vulture fund now owns my home, and wants me out, and doesn’t care about me, is making me really angry.”

Ms Robinson described the situation as “disgusting”.

Resistance

The affected residents at the complex have joined forces to try to fight the evictions.

Local Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor Cian Prendiville, who has helped organise the residents, has queried the validity of the eviction notices.

Mr Prendiville also claimed Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, who is from Limerick, “rolled out the red carpet for these vulture funds, meeting with representative of the vultures personally eight times in 2013 and 2014, encouraging them to come to Ireland”.

According to its latest filed accounts, Sova Properties Ltd intends to complete the sale of all of its assets “as quickly as possible” and pay off its debt by 2020.

A statement released by Sova said: “Debt secured against these [Limerick] properties was sold by Nama to Oaktree, which has directed that Sova sell the properties to repay the debts. Sova remains in ongoing communication with tenants.

“Unless there are specific circumstances to the contrary, Oaktree’s view is that value is maximised by sale with vacant possession.”