herald

Thursday 21 September 2017

Council bids to shut down 'fire risk' city property with up to 70 tenants

One of the property’s rooms
One of the property’s rooms

Dozens of South Americans and Eastern Europeans are unlawfully being rented "living space" in a single Co Dublin house in dangerous, unhealthy and cramped conditions, a court heard.

Barrister Liam O'Connell told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that he would be asking her to order Richard Stanley to immediately end the use of his property at Lehaunstown, Cabinteely, "as what can only be described as an unauthorised hostel".

The matter will return to the Circuit Civil Court on Friday.

As previously reported in the Herald, up to 70 people have been living in the property.

Mr O'Connell, who appeared with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council's lawyer Dorothy Kennedy, said the overcrowded dwelling was considered a fire and health risk.

"It has come to the council's notice that the three-storey dwelling is being used as other than a private dwelling, with up to 17 individuals in one room and about 36 in the basement," Mr O'Connell told the court.

Aonghus O Neill, a planning inspector, told the court in a sworn affidavit that the house was registered at the Land Registry in the name of Richard Stanley. It comprised a basement with two rooms, a ground floor, first floor and attic level.

Flammable

Mr O'Connell told Judge Linnane that the county council had become aware of reports of the number of people being accommodated there and carried out an inspection for health and safety reasons.

He said Mr O'Neill and another council inspector, Aidan Shannon, found that almost every room they could obtain access to had been filled with either double beds or bunk beds.

Loose cord providing power to a washing machine and two tumble dryers at the top of a stairs leading to the basement had to be avoided. In a boiler room there were no smoke or heat detectors and flammable materials were scattered about.

One room in the basement contained 11 bunk beds and a second room contained five bunks and two double beds, and each of the beds appeared to have been recently slept in.

Mr O'Connell said the use of the property had changed from a private dwelling to one involving the provision of accommodation to paying customers.

He said the council would be seeking an injunction restraining the continued use of the house as a multi-occupancy dormitory property.

Mr O'Connell said the council had sought undertakings from Mr Stanley to terminate multi-occupancy forthwith and to provide suitable accommodation for those currently accommodated there.

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