The first of dozens of families who have been told their leases will not be renewed for their homes in Tyrrelstown in west Dublin packed up and moved away from the area on Friday morning.
Over 100 houses in Cruise Park, Tyrrelstown, are likely to be sold after a so-called vulture firm acquired the development loan for the estate.
All of the houses are being rented out.
So far dozens of families have been served with notices to quit, with times varying from between one month and 112 days, depending on how long they have been there.
One woman, who did not wish to be named, left the house she had been living in for a year with her family yesterday.
She has lived in Tyrrelstown for almost seven years and has friends there, she said.
Her rent of €1,350 per month in Tyrrelstown will increase to €2,200 a month in her new home.
“They are doing it by the book. We had 42 days. We had asked prior [to the letter] and we were told that our house was not for sale just yet, that they wanted to sell the ‘traditional’ houses.
“But our lease wasn’t renewed and a week later we got the notice that we had to leave,” she said.
Residents will not have their leases renewed in the wake of an agreement between Twinlite and Beltany Property Finance, a Goldman Sachs company to which Twinlite owes money secured on the houses.
Goldman Sachs bought the Twinlite loans in 2014 from Ulster Bank, which originally loaned the cash to build the houses.
The woman said she had asked “right at the beginning” about staying in the house beyond a one-year lease period and they had been told they could do so.
“We wanted to stay longer and we were told ‘yes’.”
The woman has adult children who are working, but she said neighbours will also have to move in the next three months had young children in school in Tyrrelstown. Residents will be expected to move out over the coming months once their landlords have served a notice period.
Approximately 100 people made up of a number of nationalities including Polish, Latvian, Slovakian, African and Irish attended a meeting of residents in Tyrrelstown tonight, according to AAA-People before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger.
She said an action group called the Tyrrelstown Tennants Action Group was established and made up of people who are directly affected by the matter as well as others in the community who wish to provide support.
The group, which called on the Government to intervene so residents can remain in the properties, will picket Davy House on Dawson Street, where the offices of the investment fund are based, at 11am on Tuesday before marching to the Dail.
Ms Coppinger said said the residents who had received letters should not leave. “There can’t be people forced out of the area,” she said.
She added so many families moving would mean the “break-up of a community”.
She called on the State to intervene in this and similar situations happening elsewhere throughout the country through the introduction of an affordable mortgage or affordable rental scheme.
The Dublin Tenants’ Association, an advocacy group working with tenants in the private-rented sector, called for the immediate implementation of policy measures to protect tenants and homeowners from vulture funds.
Patrick Bresnihan of the association said government policy had facilitated vulture funds “at every turn, without any research being conducted into the impacts of international funds on the Irish housing system”.
The association said banks must be prevented from selling mortgages to third parties, at least for the duration of the housing crisis.
Sale of a property should also be removed from legislation as grounds for the termination of a tenancy, it added.
Other measures it suggested included changes to the tax system for distressed debt and other financial assets “to penalise rather than promote speculation on distressed residential debt”.