Apartment block being sold by Nama has ‘vacant units for up to 3 years’
TD Mick Wallace says agency should give apartments over to local authorities to ease housing crisis
A Dublin apartment block being sold by the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) for €33 million has had units lying vacant for up to three years despite the housing crisis, it has been claimed.
North Bank in the Docklands area is one of the last remaining large-scale Dublin city centre apartment developments due to be offered for sale in a single lot by Nama. It was put on the market this week.
Most of the apartments have been upgraded at this stage, and the remaining units are also due to be refurbished before they are sold on the instructions of David Carson of Deloitte, who was appointed receiver by Nama.
Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace said tenants in the building had informed him they had received letters from their landlord at the end of last month informing them the landlord had sold the property they were living in to the assets agency. They were told Nama would issue a 12 month lease on the current terms.
Five days later, the tenants had learned from a report in the media that the entire 124-apartment block had been put on the market by Nama.
The agency has said the purchases of some apartments were required in order to consolidate the entire block, hence increasing the value of the overall property in preparation for its sale as a single lot.
Mr Wallace said this was a “frightening development” and he claimed Nama was buying apartments in the middle of a housing crisis in order to sell them on to “vulture funds”.
“Nama have now become property speculators. It beggars belief that Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour, and now even Sinn Féin, believe that Nama have the expertise to solve our housing crisis. Nama are part of the problem, not part of the solution,” he said.
“What makes it even worse is, tenants have informed me that within the apartment block, there are vacant units, some sitting idle for over three years.
“How can Nama justify this when we are struggling with a housing crisis? These apartments, along with the rest in the block, will be no doubt purchased by a US vulture fund, and rented out for outrageous prices.”
Mr Wallace said the vacant apartments within the block could be given to local authorities. According to an official listing for the sale, there are 46 apartments vacant.
“If we keep selling apartments and houses in large blocks to vulture funds, we will continue to have a housing crisis for many years to come,” Mr Wallace said.
A Nama spokesman said the sale of the block was by a receiver and not by Nama.
“The recent purchase by NAPM [a Nama company] was therefore required to enable the receiver to consolidate control over the entire block, hence increasing the value of the overall property in preparation for its sale as a single lot. This strategy is in accordance with Nama’s statutory obligation to obtain best value for assets under its control,” he added.
Separately, the Simon Communities said over 16,000 people had signed its No One Left Behind petition ahead of next week’s budget, demanding that the Government build more social and affordable housing.
Spokeswoman Niamh Randall said all of the organisation’s services were “stretched to the very limit”.
“The long term, sustainable solution to this crisis is to build more social and affordable housing. The current ideology underpinning the housing system is one of over reliance on the private market for the delivery of housing for all tenure types,” Ms Randall said.