Occupants refusing to leave Dublin properties in contempt of court, judge says

Around 20 people are living in two houses formerly owned by businessman Jerry Beades

A High Court judge has held that around 20 people who have lived for several years in two Dublin properties are in contempt of court due to their ongoing refusal to leave.

Mr Justice Mark Sanfey said he had considerable sympathy for the occupants of 31 Richmond Avenue in Fairview and 21 Little Mary Street in Dublin 2, some of whom were young children.

While he said court orders must be complied with, the judge adjourned the case to the end of the month. He said he wanted to see progress being made by the occupants in terms of securing alternative accommodation in that time.

The High Court made orders last November in favour of Pepper Finance Corporation DAC requiring the occupants to vacate the properties. Arising out their failure to do so, Pepper has said it wants orders for attachment – arrest — of those respondents for the purpose of being brought before the court.


Businessman Jerry Beades is the registered owner, but not an occupant of the mortgaged properties, which in 2008 were made subject of High Court possession orders that were affirmed by the Supreme Court in 2014.

The possession orders arose from default on loans made by IIB Bank and sold, respectively, to KBC Bank, Beltany Property Finance and to Pepper last August.

Pepper claims some €2.3 million is outstanding on the loans and as a result of the possession orders, the occupants cannot rely on lease or rental agreements between them and Mr Beades.

Paid rent

While some occupants claim to have paid rent over years to Mr Beades, there is no evidence since the possession orders were made that Mr Beades has passed that on to anyone, including Pepper, the court previously heard.

In his ruling on whether the occupants are in contempt of court, Mr Justice Sanfey said they were in deliberate breach of valid orders made last November to vacate the properties. However, he said the orders to be made on foot of this finding required careful consideration.

The judge also noted the reluctance of the plaintiff to see action taken against the occupants given the unfortunate position in which they find themselves.

“It was suggested – with some justice – that they have been caught in the middle between the plaintiff and Mr Beades, and that they have been living in the properties and discharging ‘rent’ to Mr Beades as it fell due, oblivious to the fact that an order for possession of the properties had been granted against Mr Beades as long ago as 2008,” he said.

The court also noted the difficulties that the occupants found themselves in, and their inability to secure alternative accommodation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.The occupants claimed that they would become homeless if they left.

No basis

However, he said there was no basis in law upon which the occupants could establish a right to remain in either property.

No consent to any current tenancy has been furnished by Pepper, which does not want to enter into a landlord and tenant relationship with the occupants. There is no basis upon which it could be forced to do so, the judge said.

Mr Justice Sanfey adjourned the matter to the end of August to allow the parties an opportunity to address the court as to the appropriate orders to be made.

If there was no progress as regards their compliance with the order by then, the reliefs sought in the contempt application would be granted, he concluded.