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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 10 April, 2020
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Young buyers unhappy homes they paid deposits on were sold for social housing

The buyers of the 14 houses found out the estate had been sold on after reading it in the local newspaper.

COUPLES WERE IN tears last night at a Dublin City Council meeting after being informed that the houses they had put deposits down on had been sold to an agency for social housing.

The young families had paid deposits on the houses, valued at between €275,000 and €320,000, in the An Riasc estate in Finglas.

However, yesterday they read in a local newspaper that the houses they hoped to be living in by Christmas had been sold to the housing agency, An Túath.

All 49 homes in the development have been secured for social housing.

An Riasc estate, Finglas 

Fianna Fáil councillor David Costello told TheJournal.ie that what has gone on with the sale of the entire estate is “shocking”. He said councillors were only made aware of the sale last Thursday, but no one told the young families who had already paid out deposits.

No one contacted them either, they only found out about the sale in the Northside People yesterday.

“One buyer I met last night was in floods of tears. They were told they would be getting the keys as far back as October, and solicitors fees have already been paid out.”

Costello, who sits on the council’s housing committee, said the sale of the estate never came in front of the committee. He said the council officials were reserving comment until this afternoon, when a special meeting will be held at the Ballymun Civic Centre.

One buyer told TheJournal.ie that buyers have been left with a fight on their hands to get their deposits back and have their legal fees and personal purchases for the house paid for.

Another buyer said the news was a “bombshell” to him and his partner on Sunday night, when the first heard they would not get the house.

My girlfriend was so upset. It’s destroyed us and the 13 other couples affected by this decision.

He said they had known about the building of this housing estate for over a year. They had seen the plans and though they thought the price tag of €320,000 was high for the area, once they saw the house, they thought it was worth it.

Signing contracts

In total, the buyer has paid a €37,000 deposit to the developer. He explained that they had signed the contract and sent it to be countersigned to be “done and dusted”.

However, after some time, his solicitor said it was strange that there was such a delay in the contract being returned after such a large deposit being paid out.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, a solicitor specialising in conveyancy said that unfortunately until a contract is signed the developer or seller can pull out at any time even if a booking deposit has been paid out.

“It is unfortunate, but it can happen.” Even if a contract is signed and even if a deposit has been paid out in full, until the contract is countersigned, the developer can still pull the sale.

“We all have to go back to the drawing boards now. This was our dream house – it was near our jobs, our families, we wanted to set up home there and start a family, this is a year of planning just gone,” said the buyer.

Not a war on social housing 

“This isn’t about a war on social housing, or a resentment that the estate is now fully social housing. We are from social housing, but again, this is the working-class people being shunted.”

There should be a social mix, as the government have legislated for. But they have created a bomb in that area with all 49 houses being used for social housing. It’s four months before an election and it looks like they didn’t learn from the mistakes of Ballymun, they just want to look like Robin Hood and it is the community that will pay.

These are three and four bedroom homes, so large families will be housed there now – where will they go to school, where are the medical centres? Again, where is the forward planning for the area?

He explained that he didn’t know when he would get his deposit back, but said they had spent a lot more.

“We will be looking for a full refund, but for expenses too. We have to a pay solicitor and I paid out for a valuation on the home just four days ago, when this deal was already done.”

Councillor Costello reiterated that now the estate is going to be entirely social housing is not a bad thing, and is not the issue.

The issue, he said, is that local people who want to live in their area had paid out as much as €32,ooo to secure a home.

Costello said he didn’t expect to get answers from council officials today, but added that it was “not right” what had happened to the families.

Buyers left in the dark 

“I don’t know how no one contacted them to inform them about what was happening. It is a very uncertain situation.”

He said a number of residents had already paid out on fittings for their new home, with one resident paying the builder for a new staircase.

“I don’t know how the sale was allowed to go ahead if deposits on the homes had already been paid,” he said.

A statement from the Department of Environment, who approve social housing developments, to TheJournal.ie stated:

A letter of conditional approval for this proposal was issued by the Department on December 4.The proposal was considered by the Housing Agency and Dublin City Council (DCC).
As part of their report DCC provided comments on social housing need and the likely impact on the social to private mix in the area.
Regarding the issue of private buyers interested in purchasing the houses, this would be a matter for the developer and the AHB (Approved Housing Body).

TheJournal.ie contacted the housing agency An Túath and Dublin City Council for comment, however, no reply had been received at the time of publication.

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