Leeside apartment residents call on Housing Minister to introduce legislation to block mass evictions

Residents of a Cork city apartment block facing eviction by a vulture fund have called on Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to introduce legislation to block mass evictions.

Families and individuals living in Leeside apartments (below) have been served notice after the new owner claimed the complex is in need of substantial renovation.

Speaking at a press conference in Dublin this morning, resident and mother-of-one Aimee O'Riordan said those living in the apartments will continue to fight despite a recent landmark ruling from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) which backed up the vulture fund.

Notice to quit had been issued to more than 30 residents by Lugus Capital after their purchase of the Leeside apartments in October 2017.

While some tenants have moved out, there are still more than 20 households in the complex.

Residents have spent more than six months fighting notices to quit as they believe Lugus Capital are simply exploiting a loophole which allows landlords to evict tenants if significant refurbishment is needed.

Ms O'Riordan said guidelines introduced by Mr Murphy have "failed" and they need to be fast-tracked into legislation to ensure they have to be adhered to.

"It has been a long battle to this date and we are not giving up, we are currently in the process of appealing the RTB's decision.

"I do understand that the adjudicator can only base his decision on what is in legislation at the moment.

"What I don't understand the new guidelines that were issued last December or January by Eoghan Murphy which are merely just guidelines and when we brought this to the RTB, the adjudicator noted that guidelines are just like writing something on a piece of paper saying you have to follow that, they had no effect or no holding on his judgment," she said.

Tenants believe that the landlord is now issuing evictions to allow them significantly increase the amount they charge each month.

Ms O'Riordan is currently paying €700 per month in rent for her apartment which overlooks the river, but said she had been told that the rent will be increase to between €1,500 and €1,700 when the apartments are renovated.

"I am willing to take a rent increase, no problem, within reason, but €1,500 to €1,700 I don't know who can afford that," she said.

Solidarity-PBP TD Mick Barry said some of the residents had even offered to find alternative accommodation for a month while work was being carried out if they could keep their tenancies, but this option was refused.

Homeless campaigner Fr Peter McVerry called on the Government to introduce legislation to make it illegal to evict people into homeless in the next three years.

"As a minimum we need legislation preventing the eviction of people in theses circumstances," he said of those living in the Leeside apartments.

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