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Dublin City Council ordered to pay tenants €11,000 over ‘damp, mould and mildew’ in flat

An engineer told the court that there were also defects with regard to ventilation, insulation, flooding, overcrowding.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A COUPLE WHO claimed they had been left in uninhabitable accommodation for years have been awarded €30,000 in damages in the Circuit Civil Court against Dublin City Council.

The apartment in Dolphin House in Rialto was examined by forensic engineer Lloyd Semple, of David L Semple and Associates.

Semple described the living conditions in the apartment to Judge James O’Donohue as “pretty bad, in fact uninhabitable.”

He said the engineers report and photographs of the couple’s apartment had shown conditions were unacceptable. 

Semple told the court that there was damp, mould and mildew in most rooms with the wallpaper in some falling off the walls.

He said walls had not been insulated and the property had been inadequately equipped with heat and smoke detectors.

The judge told Deborah and Damien Doyle, of Dolphin House, Rialto, Dublin, they would receive only €11,000 of the €30,000 he awarded them because they owed the council €19,000 in rent arrears.

Counsel for the local authority said the Doyle family had been given a new apartment within two months of the launch of their legal proceedings and that apartments in the Dolphin House complex had been extensively refurbished.

Semple also stated that there were defects with regard to ventilation, insulation, flooding, overcrowding.

Moisture levels of 24% with highs of 30% in the bathroom and 37% in the kitchen were recorded.

“Through no fault of their own the conditions in which they were living were unacceptable,” Semple told the court in a detailed report. 

Deborah Doyle told the judge that her family felt unwell while living there because “the smell in the flat was always horrendous”.

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The judge said that no medical evidence had been put before the court to substantiate any claims of ill-health and there were some allegations in the couple’s proceedings that had also not bee stood up.

“I accept that living conditions were unacceptable and I will make an award of €30,000, €19,000 of which will have to go to the council in its counter claim for unpaid rent,” the judge said.

The judge said the couple, who live with their 11-year-old son and 24-year-old daughter, had been given a new enhanced apartment with better facilities and more space. 

He also directed that the couple had to comply with their obligation to make full discovery of their whole family income.  

About the author:

Ray Managh and Ciara Mulcahy

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