More than 30 low-income households to be evicted from Dublin homes

Landlord seeking to refurbish Emmet Manor in Inchicore to relet at higher rents

‘I have been looking for somewhere else but it is not easy.’ Joelle Tungu, with her daughter Keisha, (5), who are facing eviction. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘I have been looking for somewhere else but it is not easy.’ Joelle Tungu, with her daughter Keisha, (5), who are facing eviction. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

More than 30 low-income households in south Dublin will be evicted as their new landlord wants to refurbish and relet their homes at higher rents.

Emmet Manor, a block of 32 apartments in Inchicore, was bought by Carnivan Bay Property Limited – owned by multimillionaire businessman Justin Keatinge – at a receivership auction last December.

Norths Property, on behalf of Carnivan Bay, is seeking vacant possession of the block to carry out “significant refurbishments” and has begun issuing termination notices.

Joelle Tungu has lived in Emmet Manor for five years with daughters Kaina (14) and Keisha (5), and got notice on March 1st.

“Your landlord plans to refurbish the apartment and must therefore issue you with a termination notice to vacate ... We will need to reclaim the property on or before Friday, June 21st, 2019,” the notice read.

“We will have no hesitation in recommending you to any prospective landlord and if we can be of assistance in your search please do not hesitate to contact our office.”

A carer, she pays €830 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. In her daughters’ box room wallpaper is peeling due to damp. The larger bedroom is so damaged with mould that Joelle, who has asthma, sleeps in the living room.

There is neither window nor ventilation in the kitchen. The bathroom ceiling is scarred with mildew.

Ms Tungu agrees the apartments need refurbishing but is “very, very worried” about becoming homeless.

“I have been looking for somewhere else but it is not easy. I went to the council and they said I can get the ‘homeless HAP’ [higher rate of Housing Assistance Payment available to households facing homelessness], but no landlords want this HAP.”

Rich tenants

David Bisset was homeless with his daughter (11) before they moved in in 2012. He pays €825 a month.

“I had been in addiction, but having a base here, our lives really took off. I am working and do community work with the local football team.”

Though he hasn’t yet received an eviction notice, he has begun looking for alternative accommodation.

“I could get €1,250 on HAP but the average place around here is €2,000. I’m feeling pretty helpless and hopeless. I’m born and bred around here. It’s wrong that someone can come and throw the poor out to get rich tenants in.”

Local councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh (Sinn Féin) is working on an “exit strategy” for the tenants and is calling for “laws that protect tenants” where a block of rented homes changes hands.

“A lot of these people are very vulnerable. They have been paying their rent, living in substandard housing and now they are the ones losing out. There is nothing illegal in what the landlord is doing, though.”

Nicola Ryan, Norths Property residential manager, said “no tenant should have to live” in the “very poor” conditions in Emmet Manor.

“Unfortunately it is impossible to do the required renovations with tenants in situ” and Norths planned to empty the block in four phases over three years, to minimise disruption. She confirmed rents would increase but said current tenants would have an opportunity to return.