A Cork family may be forced to emigrate after receiving a notice to quit the rented house they have lived in for five years.
Rebecca O’Riordan, her husband, Ger, and their two children, Noah, aged 10, and Emmy, 3, were told six weeks ago that they would have to vacate their home in August.
The landlord is selling the property, and their eviction is legal.
“We got the call six weeks ago and, when we found out, I started taking down my children’s artwork, slowly detaching my emotions from the house,” said Rebecca, a carer who studies law by night at University College Cork.
Mr O’Riordan works full time at a financial institution.
“We had been saving up to put a deposit on a house, and if the eviction ban was extended until January 2024, we would have had that money ready by then,” said Rebecca.
When they received the notice to quit, they began looking for alternative rental accommodation.
“We’ve been looking for something that’s close enough to where our son’s school is in Douglas, but there’s nothing here at the moment,” Rebecca said.
“The only place that we found that was suitable for us was in Innishannon, which would mean having to travel in and out of the city for hours.
“And my daughter Emmy, who is disabled, just got a place in a special school in Cork City and is set to start in September. And we have to give an answer for school transport in April, but we just really don’t know where we are going to be by then.”
They are now investigating the possibility of emigrating to Britain or to the US, Rebecca says:
"Ten years ago, I thought it would get better, and we’ve been keeping our head down, we’ve been doing everything right. But I want my kids to have better access to things."
She said she has started planning to pack up the rooms in her house, and has stopped buying new things.
“You feel you have some stability, like you have a home, and we made this place our home, and then you get a call, and it reminds you that this was never your home,” she said.
“We don’t want to leave, our family is here, our parents are elderly, we want to be here, but we’ve been left with no other option.”
The family do not qualify for emergency accommodation as they are over the threshold for Housing Assistance Payment.
Figures released earlier this month by the Residential Tenancies Board for the third quarter of 2022 showed over 4,700 notices of termination issued to tenants in that period.
Of those, 2,845 were due to a decision by the landlord to sell the property.
A further 794 cases involved a landlord intending to move a family member into the home and 738 were because of a breach of tenant obligations. Of those, 1,839 or 38%, were served in Dublin, with 500 in Cork.
The Government said it has introduced a “safety net” for at-risk renters from today when the eviction moratorium is lifted.
The range of proposals, put forward by the Green Party, will include a measure that would see councils purchase homes currently occupied by tenants in receipt of housing assistance payment (HAP), as part of an extended ‘tenant in situ’ scheme.
However, this does not include tenants who do not qualify for these payments.