herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

€200-a-month for a bed in this five room Temple Bar property...with 44 others

Forty-five people have to share just three toilets, one shower room and a kitchen
Forty-five people have to share just three toilets, one shower room and a kitchen
Forty-five people have to share just three toilets, one shower room and a kitchen

Forty-five people are paying up to €200 a month to live in this five-bedroom building in the heart of Dublin city.

There are up to 10 people in a room, with just one wardrobe for up to four people.

Most of the residents, who are mainly students and migrant workers, are living out of suitcases.

The landlord of the four-storey property said he did not know there were so many people living in the building.

"I rented it completely unfurnished and I rented it to one individual who was occupying it with his friends.

"I plan to look into it. I will deal with it as quickly and efficiently as I possibly can. Until now I have not been aware of there being any issue and I will look into the matter and address the matter appropriately."

Security

When asked how much he earns from renting the property, he responded: "Not as much as you think, but that is a matter between me and the guy I'm renting it to."

The landlord insisted that he is tax-compliant and that the building meets all the fire safety rules.

A Brazilian, Carlos Pupin, who recently lived in the property, told the Herald he had to pay a €300 security deposit.

When moving out, he was told his deposit would not be returned unless he found someone to take his place.

"I was desperate for somewhere to live," he said.

"At the time, I was paying €350 rent in cash and I didn't sign any contract," he claimed.

Describing the cramped conditions, Mr Pupin said he sometimes had to wait until midnight to cook his food and avoided showering in the winter because of the long queues for the bathroom.

"Everybody had to use the same facilities. The kitchen was often really, really dirty because people wouldn't clean up after themselves. I had to sleep in a room with five guys and two girls." He added: "To take a shower, I would usually wake up at 9am. There were some days during the winter when I didn't take a shower.

"Most people used it just as short-term, before they could get proper accommodation. It was like a hostel," he said.

Last week, an advertisement appeared on Daft.ie for the property.

Only one picture was posted and the property overview section stated that there was only "one person currently living in this apartment".

There are just three toilets, a shower room and one kitchen in the building.

Fire extinguishers are positioned in the basement, but it is not known how many fire exits are in the building, if any.

If 45 people pay €200 a month, it would amount to €9,000 a month or €108,000 a year.

The property is registered with the Residential Tenancy Board (RTB) as a five-bedroom building with four floors.

In a statement, they described five people living in the five-bedroom house as "extremely worrying".

Safety

"Given the serious health and safety issues raised, the property concerned could not possibly comply with the Housing Regulations 2009 for the provision of proper light and ventilation, cooking and hygienic food storage, and fire safety measures."

The RTB said it would write "immediately" to the landlord "setting out our concerns for the welfare of the tenants" and would also request Dublin City Council to arrange an urgent inpsection of the dwelling.

The chairperson of housing charity Threshold, Aideen Hayden, said overcrowding in accommodation is becoming a serious issue.

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