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Thursday 18 January 2018

'Get out in 2 weeks', landlord tells 23 girls in overcrowded city house

As many as eight people sleep in a single bedroom in some of the overcrowded properties in Dublin
As many as eight people sleep in a single bedroom in some of the overcrowded properties in Dublin

A landlord running an overcrowded house in Dublin has given his tenants just two weeks to find alternative accommodation.

The man said he is moving back to eastern Europe on Thursday because his wife is sick.

Last week, an investigation by independent.ie revealed how a group of landlords manage more than 40 overcrowded properties across Dublin.

In some instances, up to 30 people are crammed into houses designed for a single family.

The eastern European landlord rents a house in Rathmines to 23 girls, eight of whom sleep in one room.

In correspondence seen by independent.ie, he gave the women until the middle of next month to move out.

"I need to close the house. If you stay until November 15, then I will charge you for that days," he wrote.

He said his "friend" will meet with the tenants to return their deposits after he "leaves the country".

A source said the man, who is a director of a property management company, has "become very erratic" since it was revealed that the group of landlords are raking in many thousands of euro on a weekly basis.

The man's wife, who is understood to be living in Ireland, is listed as company secretary of his firm.

He denied that his business had anything to do with the 40 overcrowded houses and insisted he is tax-compliant.

The lease between the man and the owner of the Rathmines house, a copy of which independent.ie has seen, does not include any agreement about sub-letting.

Eviction

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said: "We are aware of this case and are dealing with it.

"In relation to the risk of eviction, the tenant/s need to bring that issue to the attention of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB)."

However, the house is not registered with the RTB as rental accommodation.

The law sets out the following as the minimum period of notice which must be given to tenants to move out:

● Less than six months' tenancy - 28 days' notice.

● More than six months' tenancy, but less than one year - 35 days' notice.

● More than one year's tenancy, but less than two years - 42 days' notice.

Some of the tenants in the house have been living there for more than a year.

Even though the property is not registered with the RTB, an board spokesperson said: "We do not condone this behaviour and strongly recommend that tenants who believe they have been served an invalid notice of termination, contact us for more information or submit a dispute online."

The owner of one of the overcrowded houses being run by the group of landlords said he had "no idea" their house was being used in this manner .

He said he was living abroad and had rented the house privately.

It was revealed last week that the group running slum-like houses in Dublin are removing bunkbeds, partitions and items of furniture before inspections by council staff.

These tactics are being used to mislead inspectors about how many tenants are living in the overcrowded houses.

The investigation also revealed that:

● Eight landlords manage more than 40 properties across the county.

● Up to eight people sleep in one room.

● Each property has an appointed "queen", who is responsible for collecting rent and overseeing housework.

Fintan McNamara, a spokesman for the Residential Landlords Association of Ireland (RLAI), said that because of the current housing crisis it is not surprising that overcrowding is prevalent across the city.

He said the lack of supply is having a significant impact on the types of property people are sleeping in.

He added that the Government's decision to ban bedsits was a major contributing factor.

Extreme

"These people are not normal landlords," he said. "We would not condone this. I think most people would understand that it is very much in the extreme.

"The Government has banned more than 2,000 units - bedsits - and I'm not saying it would solve the crisis, but it would definitely help."

Meanwhile, seven of the houses were viewed and found them to be overcrowded, with between 20 and 30 people living in each property and up to eight people sleeping in some rooms.

The properties are located in Blackrock, Rathmines, Dundrum, Shankill, Ranelagh, Rialto, Clontarf and Tallaght.

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