Couple ordered to leave home 4 years ago over unpaid rent

Stacey Lyons and her five children in their car after the family found themselves homeless.

The couple pleading for a house after they were asked to leave emergency hotel accommodation yesterday were ordered out of a private rented house four years ago for failing to pay rent.

The Private Residential Tenancies Board issued a determination order in respect of Cork couple, Ian Thomas Lyons and Stacey O’Brien Lyons, in June 2011, stating that a notice of termination of tenancy served on them by a landlord in February 2011 was valid.

The PRTB directed them to leave the house within a week of the determination being issued.

The PRTB also directed them to pay €2,176.10 — €1,176.10 in rent arrears and €1,000 in damages for failing to pay the rent — and any further rent outstanding from May 1, 2011.

Despite repeated attempts, the couple was not available for comment last night.

The couple and their five children have spent the last 11 weeks living in a hotel room at the Travelodge off Cork’s Kinsale Road Roundabout — emergency accommodation arranged and funded by Cork City Council.

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The Travelodge asked them to leave by yesterday. The family packed their bags and left early in the morning.

The hotel declined to comment or explain why they asked the family to leave.

Ian told the Neil Prendeville Show on RedFM earlier yesterday that the hotel couldn’t continue the arrangement. “It’s a hotel. It’s not a homeless shelter,” he said, adding that his family may have to live in their car unless he can find another hotel, or a house to rent.

Last night, the city council said while it was Travelodge’s decision to ask the family to leave, the local authority is willing and able to continue funding crisis accommodation costs for the family while a long-term housing solution is found.

A spokesperson said the council is anxious to keep the family together but they require very specific accommodation. “This is a complex case. We have been actively working on a solution and will continue to do so to keep the family together,” the spokesperson said.

Unemployed Ian first went public on his family’s plight on RedFM last month.

His wife, Stacey, 28, spoke out about in the situation in a newspaper and said they are facing a life on the streets following the hotel’s decision to ask them to leave.

She said Ian spent yesterday driving around the city desperately looking for accommodation.

She said they have been languishing on the city’s housing waiting list for 10 years with no hope of a house in sight.

The situation is having a devastating effect on them, and on their five children: Destiny, 9, who has scoliosis; Angel, 8; Ian Jr, 6; Michael, who is 20 months old; and Leon who is seven months.

Ian gets about €440 in jobseeker’s allowance, with around €675 a month being paid out in children’s allowance. Stacey is also in receipt of a carer’s allowance.

Stacey said they have been told they can’t stay in her mother’s local authority house on the city’s northside amid overcrowding concerns.

She said they viewed seven houses in 10 days but that few landlords will take a family with five children. She accused the council of ignoring their plight.

“We have put ourselves forward for two houses that we have seen boarded up around the place but we’re still getting nowhere,” she said.

“We’re feeling very low and we don’t know what to do. It feels like you’re stuck in a hole and there’s no way to get out.”

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