The joint landlords of a Co Dublin house, which at one point was used to house up to 70 South American and eastern European tenants, were told by a judge to pay a local authority’s legal costs that could run to almost €60,000.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane directed the costs order be made jointly and severally against both Christian Carter and 85-year-old Richard Stanley, which means either of them could be sued for the full amount following taxation or they could agree to equally share the load.
The Circuit Civil Court heard that Mr Carter, of Dunedin Drive, Monkstown, Co Dublin, had been paying Richard Stanley’s son Dermot €2,000 a month by banker’s order and €2,000 in cash for the five-bedroom house, The Pines, Lehaunstown, Cabinteely, Co Dublin.
Judge Linnane heard that, in turn, Dermot Stanley, who lives in London, was paying his father Richard, who owns the house, €2,000 a month. In an email to Mr Carter in August 2015, Dermot Stanley stated his father had noticed some mattresses "out the back of the house last time he collected rent."
Dermot Stanley added in the email: “If you can make sure your guy keeps it looking ok for rent day then at least you’ll save me the grief. Thanks.”
Fran Rooney, for Mr Carter, told the court his client had sublet the property with the consent and knowledge of the Stanleys after the son Dermot had agreed to the deletion of a clause in the lease prohibiting sub-letting.
In another email to Christian Carter, Dermot Stanley had given his consent to the subdivision of the house into 15 bedrooms.
In the second email of October 2015, he told Carter he was “set for another year . . . providing you keep my father happy every time he comes over to collect the rent”.
Liam O’Connell, for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, which had sought injunctions restraining the continued use of the house as a multi-occupancy dormitory property, told Judge Linnane on Monday that her order to clear the house of tenants by Saturday last had been fully complied with.
“Its now just a matter of legal and administrative costs that has to be decided by the court,” he said.
Michael Binchy, for Richard Stanley, asked the court to award costs against Mr Carter as Mr Stanley snr had moved at all times to bring an end to the unauthorised development at the property.
He said Mr Stanley had not known what Mr Carter had been doing at the property and if the court held against him on awarding full costs against Mr Carter, he said a 25-75 per cent costs order in favour of Mr Stanley would reflect the blameworthiness of the parties.
Judge Linnane said that if 50 people had been paying €50 a week each to Mr Carter he would have been receiving €10,000 a month. Sixty tenants would have been paying him more than €12,000 a month. At an earlier hearing it was estimated Carter had been collecting up to €16,000 a month in rent.
Mr Rooney said the sewage problems at the house had been fully cleared up by an environmental company employed by his client.
Judge Linnane struck out the local authority’s application and awarded legal costs jointly and severally against Mr Carter and Richard Stanley, to be taxed in default of agreement. She directed that the local authority be paid €2,810 for administrative expenses.