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Luxembourg landlord Marc Godart sublet Mountjoy Square property for decade, despite having lease for just two years

‘You would just think he was an aristocrat,’ says Georgian house owner

The owner of a Georgian house on Dublin’s Mountjoy Square who let her basement on a two-year lease to controversial landlord Marc Godart to run his property business, discovered he had sublet the property, giving tenants leases of up to 10 years, without her permission.

“He looks and sounds like an English public school boy,” says Karin O’Flanagan of the 34-year-old Luxembourg native who became her tenant in mid 2021. “He is beautifully spoken, very softly spoken and quite a handsome man, refined looking. You would just think he was an aristocrat.”

Ms O’Flanagan has lived on Mountjoy Square since the 1970s in one of the few intact original houses left on the square. For 38 years she let the large basement, a space of 1,500sq ft, to creche operators. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic the creche business folded.

‘Impressed by him’

“I sat on the place for six to nine months, but I needed to do something with it. So I contacted an estate agent and that’s how I met Marc.”


Mr Godart said he wanted to use the basement as an office for his property management business, and that his wife would use a part of the space for a beauty salon. “I was impressed by him. He told me he was in property and that his father was a partner in a private bank in Luxembourg and they invested in property. He told me they operated in Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany and he was invested in property with no recourse to loans,” she says.

“He said the wife of one of his father’s business partners said to him when he graduated college, that if he was interested in property Ireland would be a good place to look at. He seemed entirely plausible.”

There was a problem, however. Marc was unable to provide references or accounts.

“He came back with a reference from his wife’s landlord, where she was running a beauty salon. I went to my solicitor and I showed him the reference and he said, ‘but where’s his accounts? He should have two years’ accounts to show you, when was the company established?”

This was in June 2021 and Mr Godart had been operating businesses in Ireland for seven years at this point. He had been a director of a company called Green Label Property Investments Ltd since it was incorporated in 2014 and is now a director or secretary of 56 Irish companies, according to Companies House records.

Ms O’Flanagan did not take her solicitor’s advice. “He came back with a personal reference from someone who had done business with him. So I decided I’d only offer a two-year lease and ask for 2½ months rent as a deposit and see what reaction I got. Marc rang me and said, ‘absolutely no problem’. He would charm the birds out of the trees.”

The rent in June 2021 was set at €18,000 a year. The following month Ms O’Flanagan says Mr Godart told her that due to an illness in his wife’s family, she would not be in a position to immediately relocate her salon business, but he said he had tenants himself who also operated a beauty salon, who would like to use the space for a short time until his wife was in a position to return to work.

“I told him I wasn’t happy with this as it wasn’t what we agreed. But he chatted away and reassured me it was only temporary, and he persuaded me.”

Visited the basement

Documents show Mr Godart had in fact sublet the property to the salon on a 10-year lease at €17,280 a year.

In September the salon started trading, but the property business did not yet appear to be up and running. The following month Ms O’Flanagan visited the basement and encountered a woman who introduced herself as a new tenant, not part of the beauty salon, who was about to start a massage therapy business in the basement.

“She showed me where it was, and it was the storage space in the basement, she would have had no control over light and heat, it just wouldn’t be safe. She also showed me a lease showing her rent at €700 a month, which she was paying directly into a bank account in Luxembourg. I told her Marc had no right to sublet the space to her and I advised her to talk to her solicitor. She’s a lovely young woman and she was very upset, understandably.”

Ms O’Flanagan said the massage therapist also said Marc had told her two more beauticians would be coming to share the basement.

“At this stage, I went to the first salon and asked what arrangement they had with Marc.” It was then Ms O’Flanagan discovered they had been given a 10-year lease at €17,280 annually, also paid into the Luxembourg account. This, in addition to the massage therapist’s rent, meant Mr Godart would be taking in €25,680 a year, with the possibility of further subletting contracts to come.

Ms O’Flanagan said she decided then to evict Mr Godart. “They [the salon owners] were very upset because they had invested, they were just young people looking for a start too, but I needed a clear break from him.”

She made a statement to the Garda and contacted her solicitor. While Mr Godart’s solicitor initially put the matter down to “unintentional misunderstandings”, Mr Godart ultimately agreed to vacate the premises and Ms O’Flanagan regained possession in January 2022.

While she is relieved the matter was resolved, she says she took a financial hit as a result of the episode: “€2,500 to the estate agent, to my solicitor €1,800, there were €1,850 in rates for the following year and I lost months in rent. So I reckon I was out of pocket about €7,000 to €8,000. I don’t think he ever intended to use it as his property office — making money by subletting was his plan all along.”

Enforcement proceedings

Mr Godart is fighting eviction from a house in Kilmainham he began renting in 2019, but sublet on Airbnb without the owners’ permission.

The Irish Times earlier this month reported that Dublin City Council had issued enforcement proceedings against Green Label, ordering the cessation of unauthorised short-term letting of Reuben House, an apartment block with up to 45 tenants in Dolphin’s Barn.

Tenants of Reuben House were last August evicted and subsequently found their rooms advertised on Airbnb as “hostel-style” accommodation.

Last October Mr Godart evicted tenants from a north Dublin house. The tenants in Fairview said he locked them in the kitchen while a number of men removed their belongings. He had some months earlier begun operating Airbnb from rooms in the house while long-term tenants were still living there.

Mr Godart has not responded to requests for comment.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times