An investment fund, which bought 128 apartments in north Dublin for €40 million three years ago, is to lease the entire complex to housing organisation Tuath for 25 years.
Ires Reit bought the apartments at Hampton Wood near the Ikea furniture store in Ballymun from developer Dwyer Nolan in 2018.
Ires began renting out the complex itself and in May 2018 marketed the unfurnished apartments at €1,500 for a one-bed apartment and €1,850, for two beds. It also sought two months’ rent as a deposit and one month’s rent in advance.
Almost all the current tenants in the complex are in receipt of Housing Assistance Payments. Tenants received letters from Ires in recent days informing them a lease had been agreed with Tuath, who would be taking over the tenancies.
A spokeswoman for Ires confirmed it had agreed to lease the 128 apartments to Tuath
Tuath said the 25-year lease for the complex would ensure “affordable rents” for tenants.
“These homes will become part of Ireland’s social housing stock, ensuring affordable rents and long-term security of tenure for residents,” Tuath deputy chief executive Bronagh D’Arcy said.
“The Association already manage homes in Hampton and our new tenants will be afforded the benefits of our proactive approach to housing management coupled with ongoing tenancy engagement and community support to ensure the continued wellbeing of this community”.
Local Independent city councillor Noeleen Reilly welcomed the change of landlord.
“Ires have been in place for a number of years and have been a disaster for the area. They care little about building a sustainable community and have allowed all sorts of behaviour in this complex. This has had a hugely negative impact on the surrounding area,” she said. “Vulture funds have not been positive and it seems harsh but I’m quite happy to see the back of them from Hampton Woods.”
Tuath tenancies offered a more permanent solution for people’s housing needs she said. “Tuath assured me that no one will become homeless as a result of this move and that long term leases will be offered to tenants.”
The spokeswoman for Ires said it was “an experienced landlord and property manager and has applied its high standard of property management to the Hampton Woods apartments at all times. IRES is now working with Tuath Housing to ensure continuity of service for the Hampton Wood tenants.”
Neither Tuath nor Ires would disclose the cost of the lease.
The spotlight has fallen on the long-term leasing system after it emerged last week investment firms would not have to pay stamp duty surcharges on bulk-house purchases if they leased them for social housing.
The Government earlier this year announced plans to clamp down on house purchases by large investors by increasing stamp duty to 10 per cent on the purchase of more than 10 houses.
Opposition parties accused the Government of incentivising “cuckoo funds” by granting the latest tax exemption. Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien insisted the exemption was necessary to avoid risking new lease deals that had been agreed with investment funds for up to 2,400 homes nationally.
Almost 1,000 homes across Dublin are leased from investment funds and property developers for social housing by the four Dublin local authorities.