Threshold, the national housing charity, has called on the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, and the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly TD, to meet with the property company Twinlite and the relevant overseas investment funds to ask them to cease the eviction of tenants from properties at Cruise Park in Tyrrelstown, Dublin 15.
Residents of the Cruise Park estate in Tyrrelstown were recently issued notification of eviction following a deal whereby a Goldman Sachs vulture fund, Beltany Property Finance, purchased an €89 million loan given to property developers Michael and Richard Larkin. Twinlite is owned by – and acts as the asset managers – for the developers.
Threshold is also calling on the acting-Government to immediately introduce a moratorium on mass evictions of this kind until proper legal protections can be put in place for families in these situations.
Commenting on the situation, Chairperson of Threshold, Senator Aideen Hayden, said: “Given the scale of the current homelessness crisis, the recklessness of ending large numbers of tenancies in this way cannot be overstated.
“The law that governs the private rented sector, the Residential Tenancies Act, is completely inadequate to protect tenants in a situation where tenants are evicted en masse from a development. There is little protection for tenants in this situation.
“Threshold is aware that a number of developers put their properties into the rented sector when they could not be sold and that this situation we’re now seeing in Tyrrelstown is likely to be repeated if immediate action is not taken.”
The risk that some of the families affected may become homeless is high, given the current shortage of affordable accommodation across the country. There are only 23 properties available to rent in the Dublin 15 area which has a population of over 100,000 and only 1,400 properties available to rent in the Greater Dublin Area.
According to Aideen Hayden, a number of immediate changes are needed. “At a minimum, tenants should be allowed to remain in their rented home until sale is agreed. Vacant possession is not legally required to sell a property and having a sitting tenant can actually be of benefit to the seller. Threshold is advocating that tenants are given the right to enter into a caretaker agreement that would allow them to stay in the property until it is sold. Due to the current housing crisis, investment funds should not be allowed to leave an unsold property to lie empty.”
“As one in five families now rent their homes, it should become the norm that properties are sold as a going concern with sitting tenants remaining in place. If vacant possession is ultimately required and this put tenants at risk, then the investment fund should have to work with relevant authorities to source alternative accommodation,” she said.
“The development of clear watertight protections against mass evictions should be a priority for the new Government and should be included in the Programme for Government”, she added.
Threshold wishes to acknowledge funding received from the Scheme to Support National Organisations 2016-2019 and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.