Local tenants evicted by landlords

There is an apartment building on South Richmond Street, opposite what is now the former well known Liberties pub, the Bernard Shaw, that appears abandoned. Not many come in or out of this building anymore. 

It all started in September last year, when the residents of the South Richmond building received some unexpected letters.  

The letters stated that by 12th of April 2019, they must move out. The reason given for evictions was that the building has to be refurbished. However, after these refurbishments were completed, none of the tenants were invited to come back. 

According to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), the legislation states that a landlord must offer the tenant back the property if the property was refurbished, and let it for rent again. 

By the end of September, the building still stood untouched although a few of the apartments were still occupied. Rosel Hossain one of the tenants still holding his ground in the building said that out of a total of 24 apartments in the building only four are still occupied. All the rest have left after the eviction notice knocked at their door. “They started coming from April telling us that we have to leave,” said Mr Hossain. 

Mr Hossain said that after a while the notices got even more serious. “In May two of them came and knocked at the door, we opened the door and they pushed themselves inside by force,” Mr Hossain said. Then, it all came to an end when the landlords crossed the line by sending in builders to take out all the doors in the apartments. “We were sitting inside and in two minutes the builders came in and took out all the doors,” Mr Hossain said. It was at that point that tenants decided to bring the case against the landlord’s company.  

Peter Dooley from the Dublin Renters Union, said that “for too long in Ireland tenants had no rights” and with the proposed Anti-Eviction Bill dusting in Oireachtas since last December, it seems that there is no solution for tenants in Ireland any time soon.  “The Bill would get some form of security for people who are renting,” said Mr Dooley, “and that is what we are aiming for.” If the bill would pass in Oireachtas it would stricten the rules on which landlords could evict tenants.  

Dublin Renters Union protest for protection of tenants rights. Photos from Dublin Renters Union archives.

The proposal of the Bill includes measures such as the removal of renovation and refurbishment as reasons to evict tenants. It would also ensure that tenants evicted due to the sale of the property would be compensated. Mr Dooley said that 23 percent of eviction cases cited sale of property as the reason for eviction.  “Other ones were moving in family members, or at least, claiming to move in family members that was about ten percent of the cases and substantial refurbishment made about seven percent of the cases,” Mr Dooley added.  

Mr Dooley said that he met many people who were evicted by their landlords, who realized that the rents are going up and the rent they are charging is fairly small. According to the law in Ireland, the rent raise cannot exceed four percent a year. “So landlords found a way of evicting their tenants and getting in others who would pay more, this way they keep on flipping tenants over, increasing rents up to three, four hundred euros,” Mr Dolley said. 

Mr Hossain case was just one of many, the Dublin Renters Union have dealt with numerous cases where people have been evicted out of their homes, breaching their tenant rights.  “They came in and they ripped out doors. We went to RTB and we won. The RTB awarded €10.000 in damages to the tenants and they approved that the notice was invalid,” Mr Dooley said. 

RTB were contacted for this article but they said they cannot comment on individual cases.

Property agents Savills Ireland, in their report, stated that the residential market will remain undersupplied until at least 2023, this suggests further growth in rents and property values and so for now the future for tenants in Dublin is very unsure. 

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