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Legal fees mount in Marc Godart’s High Court dispute with former tenant over €15,000 RTB award

Other tenants who were illegally evicted by landlord have not been paid, High Court hears

Marc Godart

Substantial legal fees are accumulating in the High Court dispute where a former tenant of Luxembourg landlord Marc Godart is seeking the money she was awarded for being illegally evicted.

During a strongly-worded judgment on Monday in favour of the tenant, Mr Justice Brian Cregan said it was clear Godart believed “he can defy the laws of this country, including orders of the courts”.

The Luxembourg businessman, a director of a number of companies involved in property ownership and letting, is to be summoned to give evidence on oath as to why Green Label Short Lets has not paid the money it owes former tenant Lizet Peña-Herrara.

Peña-Herrara secured two awards totalling €15,443 from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) arising from her illegal eviction from 8 Vintage Court, Cork Street, Dublin 8, in 2022.

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When the RTB awards went unpaid, she secured an order from the District Court, where she was also granted costs of €1,200 plus VAT. Green Label, of which Godart is the sole director, has not paid any of this debt, and has told the High Court it has no assets.

The case taken by Peña-Herrara has been before the judge seven times already and is back before him again on Thursday. Full legal teams are engaged on both sides and there is no sign the dispute is nearing conclusion. The legal fees to date are likely to be substantially greater than the original RTB award.

One of the matters troubling Mr Justice Cregan is that Godart has at times said Green Label was Peña-Herrara’s landlord, and at other times said the company was acting as an agent of the unidentified landlord.

“It is clear that the landlord would have owned the building in which [Peña-Herrara] was a tenant,” the judge said. “As such, it would own the asset [the building] which could be realised to ensure that [Peña-Herrara] is paid her debt.”

The court has been told by Peña-Herrara’s legal team that the house where she rented a room for €470 a month is owned by a woman from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, who is unconnected to Godart.

Godart has said his Irish companies are part of a structure whereby “all revenue earned by [Green Label] has to be transferred back to the Luxembourg parent company” Itzig Sarl.

Among the applications from Peña-Herrara are two under the Companies Act where the court can order an officer or debtor of a company to make payments to the company under certain circumstances. The judge has said these applications can be revisited after Godart is examined about Green Label.

Peña-Herrara’s solicitor has said the RTB has made a number of determinations against Godart companies, that at least three other awards for illegal eviction remain unpaid, and that Green Label paid €51,000 to its shareholders in 2021, leaving the company unable to pay its debts.