Tenants told to quit dirty and crammed Dublin houses

Some 40 people, paying €300 each per month, asked to leave for fire safety reasons

Michael Barbosa, who has been living at 38 Summerhill Parade. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Michael Barbosa, who has been living at 38 Summerhill Parade. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

A number of foreign nationals, mostly from Brazil, have been told that they will have to leave two houses on Summerhill Parade, in Ballybough, Dublin, for fire safety reasons.

The two small adjoining terraced houses are home to approximately 40 tenants, with beds crammed into almost every room, with filthy carpets and stained walls.

The tenants pay up to €300 each per bed per month.

The tenants said that they have been asked to leave but wanted to be repaid their deposits first, and were also not sure where they would go.

Michael Barbosa (24), from Brazil, said he shared a one-bedroom flat on the ground floor of 39 Summerhill Parade with four others, and that he and his colleagues paid €285 each per month.

The bedroom contains two bunk beds and one single bed, and there is also a small kitchen and a toilet. The tenants have been asked to leave immediately, he said, but he has paid a deposit of €305.

He said there are four people living in the one-bedroom basement, and eight people in the larger apartment upstairs.

He said he paid his rent to an agency called Golden Rose Accommodation, of 89 Ballybough Road, Dublin 3. This is a business name registered in 2015 by Anatoly Slowetzky, of the same address.

Attempts to contact Mr Slowetzky were unsuccessful.

‘What can we do?’

Mr Barbosa said he did not know what image Irish people had of the Brazilian community, but “we are not a poor people”. Most of the people in the house have been to university and are middle class, he said.

They have come to Ireland on visas that allow them to work for up to 20 hours per week while they learn English, but the cost of accommodation means they cannot afford anything better than where they are living.

“So of course we are being exploited, but we don’t have many options. What can we do?”

In the house next door, number 38, a tenant who did not want to have his name published said he shared the basement with five others. They paid €1,550 in total per month.

A letter notifying them of an increase in rent to this amount, from Golden Rose, was dated April 13th, 2018. “I thank you for taking care of my property and being the model tenant you are,” the unsigned letter said.

The stairs down to the basement are filthy and the one small bedroom has three bunkbeds. The small kitchen/eating area has dirty walls and a worn carpet, and a toilet/shower room off the kitchen is dingy and has mould on the walls.

In the attic four beds were crammed into a small area so that there was little floorspace. The four men sharing the attic pay €305 per month each. One, a man from Paris, France, who did not want his name published, said he worked in marketing for Google.

“I would like to have better accommodation but it’s so hard to find a place,” he said. “The market is so competitive that when you find something you don’t have a choice.”

Fire hazard

The property price register shows that both houses were sold for the same price, €360,000 each, on the same date, December 22nd, 2016. The name of the new owner is not given and the sales have not as yet been recorded in the Registry of Deeds.

Number 39 was formerly owned by Des Kelly Carpets Ltd, that owned a number of properties on Summerhill Parade, and which went into voluntary liquidation in March of this year.

When The Irish Times was at number 39 the sound of a horse coming down the lane behind the house could be heard. It appeared the horse was being put into the shed at the back of the house.

A spokesman for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, said it was aware of the situation which follows a decision by Dublin Fire Brigade that the buildings were a fire hazard.

“If any families or individuals who are being evicted find themselves in a homeless situation then the Dublin Region Homeless Executive will work with them to source alternative accommodation,” he said.

If any of the tenants experience problems regarding the return of their deposits then they can contact the Residential Tenancies Board, the spokesman also said.