A landlord, who housed up to 70 people in a sub-let property, has been ordered to find alternative accommodation for the last of his tenants by Saturday evening.
Christian Carter rented the five-bedroom house at The Pines, Cabinteely, Co Dublin for €4,000 a month from the son of the owner Richard Stanley.
Unknown to Mr Stanley, he sub-let it to tenants from South America and eastern Europe at €50 a week.
He had up to 17 individuals in one room and 36 had been given bunk and single-bed accommodation in the basement.
An order to vacate the premises by midday on Thursday was given last week in the Circuit Civil Court.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council inspector Jayne Dobson found sewage pooling at the bottom of a septic tank and at the back of the premises. Her inspection found the tank was not functional and was unable to cope even with just nine tenants left in the property.
Danger of contamination
The house is just 12 metres from the Ballyogan stream, a tributary of the Shanganagh-Loughlinstown river. There is a real danger of contamination of the water source, according to her affidavit read out by Liam O’Connell, for the council.
A further affidavit presented in court found that when a planning inspector, Aonghus O’Néill, attempted to gain access to the premises on Wednesday to deliver the order to vacate, he was blocked by a man wearing a high-visibility jacket and a balaclava who threatened to call the gardaí .
Mr O’Néill eventually gained access and handed the order to three residents of the house.
Fran Rooney, counsel for Mr Carter, said his client had sworn an affidavit to have the remaining nine people in the house rehoused by next Wednesday.
He had also secured the services of an environmental contractor to deal with the sewage problem who would be going on site on Friday afternoon.
Pressing sewage problem
Alan Brady, on behalf of the tenants, said it was not their fault that they found themselves in the situation they were in. To have them removed straight away as requested by the council would be a “disproportionate response”, he suggested and contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane said the house had a pressing sewage and fire safety problem. She warned there would be no insurance in the event of a serious incident. She urged Mr Brady to tell the tenants of the dangers of remaining on the premises.
She ruled that Mr Carter must provide alternative accommodation by 5pm on Saturday. She also extended the stay on vacating the premises to that time and said officials from the council be allowed what access they need in the meantime.
She adjourned the case until 11.30am on Monday morning and ordered that Mr Carter attend that hearing.