At least one owner is understood to have initiated a legal action over the extent of damp and mould in her unit, and fears that the ceiling is not entirely safe.
Another resident to whom the Irish Examiner spoke said she is unable to use a built-in wardrobe because of the damage done to her clothes by the mould. She has also experienced ongoing problems with damp and mould discolouring her ceiling.
In total, there are 298 apartments in the two blocks, one of which looks out on the Liffey.
When the development was opened in 2006, three-bedroom units were selling for €565,000 while a two-bed could be purchased for €535,000. Martin McAleese bought two units for just under €1.2m. These were listed in Mr McAleese’s declaration of interests for Seanad Éireann in 2011 and there is no record of the units having been sold since. The Irish Examiner contacted the McAleese family through an intermediary, but no response was received.
When it opened, the selling jargon said Longboat Quay “has captured the public imagination not least because of its superb waterfront location, adjacent to the new Civic Square and within walking distance of all the city’s amenities. It also excels in design, specification, finishes and landscaping.”
The residents are made up of owner/occupiers, private tenants, and some other who bought through a shared ownership scheme operated by the DDDA.
One major question that arises out of this investigation is the quality of surveying that was conducted on behalf of purchasers. Most, if not all, of the units would have to have been surveyed before mortgages applications could have been approved. Since 2010, eight units have changed hands, all which must have again required the employment of a surveyor.
Yet what now appears to be extensive and widespread deficiencies went uncovered until last May.
One owner/occupier who contacted the Irish Examiner spoke of damp and mould in every room of her apartment except the bathroom.
“It’s coming through the wallpaper,” she said.
“Up through the walls and the skirting board.
“When I complained about it, a builder was sent around to me. He said to get a cloth and basin of hot water and wipe it off. He also said it was from condensation, that I shouldn’t be using the shower in the en suite, which I don’t actually use anyway. But the whole thing is crazy. It’s been nothing but trouble for the last two years.”
While the Dublin Docklands Development Authority says that all residents have been kept informed of all developments, this owner/occupier insists that she was not notified of any meeting, either last summer or more recently.
A public meeting was held last summer to inform residents, but some who have spoken to the Irish Examiner claim not to have been aware of the meeting, or aware of the seriousness of the items on the meeting’s agenda. Others owners approached by the Irish Examiner declined to talk about the issues.
Understandably, there is great fear among many of the residents about the value of their property. Apart from fears over safety due to the fire design deficiencies, there would also be worry that the issue will completely tighten any market for those wishing to sell.
Residents must also be concerned about the cost of the repair work. A spokesman for the DDDA said that the division of the cost between the DDDA, the management body, and the residents would be worked out after the repair work was complete.
This position requires much further scrutiny, particularly as residents are unlikely to be disposed to forking out big sums in light of what the matter has done to the value of their own properties, and taking into account that the DDDA is a public body, funded by the exchequer.
The damp is coming up through the walls and the skirting board