Landlord has history of negative findings against him
Paul Howard ordered to pay former tenants for withholding deposits and ending tenancies
Paul Howard: he and his partner Una McClean own at least five properties in Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1. Photograph: Padraig O’Reilly
Businessman Paul Howard has had a number of negative findings against him at the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).
With an address at Larkfield Park, Harold’s Cross, Dublin, he and his partner Una McClean own at least five properties in Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, and have also let properties in Kilnamanagh, Dublin 24, and Kimmage, Dublin 6W.
Between 2016 and 2017 Mr Howard was ordered on four occasions to pay varying amounts to former tenants, for retaining their deposits and unlawfully terminating tenancies. These orders total €15,094.
In one case in July 2016, Mr Howard was found to have unjustifiably failed to return a €1,400 deposit to tenants who had rented a house at Parkhill Way, Kilnamanagh and to have unlawfully evicted them. They said they had to deliver the rent money at the end of each month in cash to the Clean City Launderette, Talbot Street, Dublin, which is operated by Ms McClean.
In the Mountjoy Square apartment at the centre of the current dispute, Mr Howard put up a notice making claims about Irish law. One said any “implied right of access” was removed for anyone working for the local authority, the Revenue Commissioners, banks or debt collectors. Any transgression would be dealt with “under common law”.
Tenants of the Mountjoy Square apartment said they felt lucky to get rooms, given the housing crisis. All were young – in their 20s – and from countries including Germany, Brazil, France and the United States. They were paying about €600 to €700 a month each for a room.
A framed notice on the back of the door, posted in December, said: “The landlord has the right to give three day [SIC)]notice if any of the following conditions are breached. 1) Strictly non-smoking. 2) No person shall enter the property that is unknown to the tenant. 3) The tenant will only contact Paul Howard in relation to his property.”