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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019
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Residents of Sandyford apartments asked to foot 'potential' €10,000 bill

“Our neighbours, our friends, we’re all in shock. I’m getting married this year – I don’t know where the money will come from.”

Beacon South Quarter Source: Google Maps

If you bought a doll’s house in a shop, and you got home and found out that it was a fire hazard, you’d be allowed to bring  it back immediately and repaired for you. But it’s not the same for us: we were sold a property in good faith, we bought it in good faith, and it has a lot of deficiencies.- Killian Ryan, resident of Beacon South Quarter apartments.

THE RESIDENTS OF Beacon South Quarter apartments have a decision to make: pay thousands of euros to fix structural problems with the buildings they own, or refuse.

These problems are causing water ingress in some of the apartments; while other deficiencies are classed as non-compliant with fire safety issues – issues that residents have been reporting for some time.

On Wednesday 18 January, residents were sent invoices to fix the problems, and a notice that at an AGM meeting next Monday, they’ll be given all the information about the problems and asked to vote on whether the apartment owners will agree to pay.

The have no idea what they’ll have to pay – they’re only going off media reports ranging from a total bill of €9 million to €31 million: one resident says the potential invoice could be for €10-15,000 per owner.

Owner

Killian Ryan bought one of the 800 Beacon South Quarter apartments in 2008 under the affordable housing scheme.

Killian says that 20% of the apartments are owner-occupiers, property company Ires Reit own around a quarter, and the rest is divided up between the county council, Cluid housing scheme, Circle voluntary housing scheme, and investors.

They’re really nice apartments, well-kitted out, a facade, lovely interior, decent enough size. Ours is a two-bed apartment on a single floor, but some are one- and three-bedroom apartments, others are duplexes.

He says that water has been leaking into his living room for the last five years, and that they’ve been pursuing it with the insurance company – hoping that they’ll pay. It was only when there was an investigation into the development of the apartment last year that they started stripping walls and realised “bits were missing”.

Monday meetings

It was only when the invoice came through that some of the residents decided to host a meeting to decide if they would go public and contact politicians and press.

They stuck posters in the lifts, set up a website, and used the existing Facebook Page to spread the message. At first residents were concerned that if the news got out their property prices would fall – but after the news was leaked to the media before the first meeting was even held, it was too late to go back.

They met last Monday and again this Monday, ahead of next week’s vote – and although Killian says most of the 120 people who turned up to this week’s meeting seemed to oppose the charge, he’s not sure it will be rejected.

Yesterday, the Irish Times reported that Ires Reit, which is the largest single owner of apartments at Beacon South Quarter, plans to vote in favour of the charge.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he says. “Our neighbours, our friends, we’re all in shock. I’m getting married this year – I don’t know where the money will come from.”

Killian says they’ve been told the problems aren’t so bad that they’ll have to evacuate but changes are needed to be fire safety compliant and for the structural soundness of the building.

Each block has a different set of problems and a different price tag attached to it.

A lot of residents have come forward to tell their story not because they think it will help them, but because they don’t want this kind of thing to happen again.

“I thought we had a government to govern over these things, to oversee development. But developers are just self-regulating,” Killian says.

Investigation: What is Nama doing to help increase social housing supply?

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