herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

'I'm worried sick', says mum as tenants fear losing their homes

Ana Wojdylo and her son Dominik outside their apartment
Ana Wojdylo and her son Dominik outside their apartment

Tenants being forced out of 17 apartments in south Dublin have pleaded for help to prevent them losing their homes.

Families in the St Helen's Court complex in Dun Laogh- aire, which is owned by two global investment funds, have been told to leave, with some given only weeks to comply.

Residents received letters telling them they must get out because of a planned major refurbishment.

They were told the work could take from three months to a year, after which they could re-apply to return.

Tenants fear rents after the refurbishment will be unaffordable, and families have no place to go in the meantime.

Mother-of-two Ana Wojdylo (32) said the situation was "very unsettling".

"I don't know what we will do. We're worried sick," she said.

"We cannot find any other homes in this area where our children go to school. I am losing sleep with worry."

Sceptical

The investment funds, represented by accountancy firm PwC, became the landlords of the complex after the previous owner experienced financial difficulties.

RTE reported that PwC was acting for Apollo Global Management and Deutsche Bank.

Last night, a spokeswoman for PWC said: "We are not making any comment."

Residents said they were sceptical about the refurbishment as the landlords could then legally seek rent increases much higher than 4pc.

A one-bedroom apartment in the complex typically costs around €950 a month.

"We fear we will be forced to move out of Dun Laoghaire, but it is too late to find new schools for our children at this late stage," said Ms Wojdylo.

Mother-of-two Supriya Ara-vind (35) said her family were living in a one-bedroom apartment.

"This is our home and we feel safe here. We want to stay. We don't know where we can go," she said.

Sergio Moura (50) said: "Families have built a community here. I'm depressed. It's stressful."

Resident Derek Cowley (51) said: "Families will be homeless. Do they expect people to live in caravans or on the streets?"

Local TD Richard Boyd Barrett has urged Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to intervene.

"If we're to prevent many of the St Helen's Court residents arriving down at Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Council in a few weeks or months looking for emergency homeless accommodation, Minister Murphy must take the sort of radical and urgent action," he said.

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