MORE than 20 households face eviction from the Leeside Apartments after a landmark ruling against tenants by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).
Residents have spent more than six months fighting notices to quit issued by Lugus Capital, who bought the apartments last year. Residents accused the firm of exploiting a loophole which allows landlords to evict tenants when refurbishing their properties, allowing them to take in new tenants on higher rents.
They challenged the notices to the RTB.
The RTB heard their cases in April and May, and yesterday issued an 18-page ruling to two tenants saying that it was necessary for them to leave to facilitate the refurbishments, and they have been given 28 days to reply. The other tenants are expected to get the same letters next week.
The ruling was the first under new RTB guidelines and is expected to set a precedent for similar cases going forward.
Aimee O’Riordan, one of the residents who received the initial ruling, said that residents are scared of becoming homeless.
“We have nowhere to go and it’s frightening to imagine the devastation this is going to cause, the day our neighbours are going to be forced out of their homes and onto the street,” she said.
Residents will hold a meeting with the Solidarity party next week to discuss the next step, which may include another appeal, but are also calling for new legislation to protect tenants.
“We, the residents, are continuing to fight to save our homes and are urgently calling upon Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, to introduce legislation which sees residents and families — just like us — have our longstanding tenancies protected and private rental market regulated in a way that supports this,” said Ms O’Riordan.
Solidarity TD Mick Barry said he will be pursuing legislation to protect the residents and others like them, but is urging them to appeal the ruling and fight their corner.
“The Residential Tenancies Board is an organ of the State and it has now given the green light to a vulture fund to evict low-income households with children as part of the vulture fund’s efforts to refurbish, hike rents and maximise profit. The Leeside families have nowhere to go, the threat of homelessness is very real now,” he said.