Apartments at centre of evictions saga sold for social housing 

Apartments at centre of evictions saga sold for social housing 
Leeside Apartments on Bachelor's Quay cork

THE Leeside Apartments have been bought by the Clúid Housing Association and Cork City Council to help tackle social housing waiting lists.

The apartments, under the ownership of Lugus Capital, had been at the centre of an evictions controversy when up to 13 households were issued with eviction notices in late 2017.

Lugus has now sold the building to City Hall and Clúid who will use the units to provide housing for people on Cork City Council’s housing list, with 78 apartments available in total. Of these, 72 will be allocated to City Council social housing applicants and six will be rented by Clúid in the private sector.

It was revealed in late 2017 that residents of the apartment complex faced eviction ahead of Christmas, with the landlord citing fire safety and renovations as the reason.

An almost two-year battle ensued, with many residents waging a campaign against eviction, holding regular group meetings, and organising several public protests.

Residents believed the renovation works were merely an excuse to evict tenants to allow Lugus to significantly hike up prices for new tenants. The company denied this and insisted the works were required.

In a statement following the purchase yesterday, Clúid said the four blocks had undergone a multi-million euro refurbishment.

James O’Halloran, New Business Manager at Clúid, said that the purchase represents a major milestone for the association.

“These units are finished to the highest standard and will provide people in Cork City with long-term, secure homes.

“Clúid has worked with Cork City Council to deliver these units in a matter of months and we hope to begin the process of filling the units next week.

Protesters outside the Leeside Apartments on Batchelors Quay, in 2017Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Protesters outside the Leeside Apartments on Batchelors Quay, in 2017Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“This project shows what can be achieved when stakeholders who are committed to housing delivery work together.

"This purchase will help us in our aim of delivering 2,500 homes over three years."

Brian Geaney, Director of Services for Housing at Cork City Council, said:

“This project is another example of the council taking a pioneering role in relation to the delivery of social housing and its willingness to take a multi-faceted approach to finding solutions to housing challenges in the City."

Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan who worked alongside residents during their campaign, also welcomed the news.

“People power has not only kept a roof over the heads of 13 families, it has opened the door to new homes,” she said.

“Huge congratulations are due to the Leeside residents.

“Evictions can be defeated by people power - that is the message that needs to go out far and wide now,” she added.

Ms Ryan said the residents' campaign forced Lugus to concede on the eviction issue in July 2018 albeit with residents forced to move to other apartments within the complex.

“Leeside could be a landmark victory for the housing movement. It shows that public housing and public ownership are key to tackling this housing crisis," said Cllr Ryan.

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