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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019
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"We're very worried" - Resident feels he's being forced out of home by 28% rent increase

Residents of Cruise Park in Tyrrelstown feel they are not being treated fairly by their landlord.

Updated at 1.45pm

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

A RESIDENT OF Tyrrelstown in West Dublin is facing a 28% rent increase on his property, prompting calls that he is being forced out of his home.

Martin Malinovsky received notice of the increase from the property owner – European Property Fund – on 28 October. The rent of his home will rise from to €1,600 on 1 February 2017.

He said today he believes that this is an effort to push him out of his home so that the landlord can sell the property vacant.

“28% is an absolutely massive raise,” he said.

“How could the landlord be allowed to raise it so much?”

received_10154839508483188 Notice of Martin's rent increase.

Malinovsky’s is one of the 40 or so households that were served with eviction notices in February of this year.

The group of residents from the Cruise Park estate in Tyrrelstown formed the Tyrrelstown Tenants Action Group in March to call on the government to protect their tenancies from a so-called vulture fund.

Notices of eviction were issued after Goldman Sachs purchased an €89 million loan from Ulster Bank that Irish construction company Twinlite (which manages the tenancies for EPF) had secured on the development.

At the time, it was reported that up to 200 families from the estate could be evicted as a result of Goldman Sachs taking over the loan.

IMG_20161213_111752 Tyrrelstown residents with AAAPBP members today in Dublin. Source: Cormac Fitzgerald/TheJournal.ie

Twinlite has denied that the sale of 103 Tyrrelstown properties that it managed for the European Property Fund (EPF) company had to do with Goldman Sachs purchasing the loan.

It said in a statement in March that EPF had decided to “exit the residential rental business” and was selling the properties as a result.

Following much media coverage, the residents – supported by AAA-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger – successfully challenged the eviction notice via the Residential Tenancies Board.

Since then, the Government has bought 18 of the homes through the voluntary housing agency Tuath, securing the residences there.

The AAA-PBP along with the Tyrrelstown residents today called on the Government to purchase more homes from the EPF in order to secure the tenancies there.

IMG_20161213_114332 Members of the Tyrrelstown Tenants Action Group. Source: Cormac Fitzgerald/TheJournal.ie

“We’re not moving”

Speaking today, Ruth Coppinger said that the slogan of the residents was “we’re not moving” and that they refused to voluntarily leave their homes.

“The residents aren’t going anywhere,” she said.

These people have children in the school, on the GAA teams… in the community. We’re not breaking up the community for a vulture find.

Residents want tenants – like Malinovsky and his family – to be given the chance to buy the homes they are renting through an affordable mortgage scheme, whereby the State purchases the house and the residents then buy it back from the State.

Malinovsky works full-time as a driver for Pallas Foods, and so does not qualify for social housing or other supports. He lives with his wife and has three young children (ages eight, six and four).

Malinovsky has lived at the property for eight years and says he has paid in the region of €120,000 in rent in the time he has been there.

IMG_20161213_115737 Martin holding a copy of his notice of rent increase today. Source: Cormac Fitzgerald/TheJournal.ie

Speaking to TheJournal.ie today, he said he was not looking for a hand out from Government.

“We don’t want anything for free, we don’t any free houses. We just need a little help,” he said.

Just something like an affordable mortgage that we could pay ourselves for the house.

He said he will remain in his home after the rent goes up in February, but that he will find it very difficult to pay the €1,600 per month.

“We’re very worried. It’s been a very stressful year for us,” he said.

“Earlier this year we had eviction notice and it was very hard for us and now again the stress of the high rent.

I see all around families becoming homeless and not being able to afford the rent. It’s not fair for me – I’m working all the time, I’m not on the social welfare.

Other residents of Tyrrelstown spoke today of similar fear about their homes and the future of their tenancies.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Frank Feeney of Twinlite said that the increase to Malinovsky rent was significant, but that it was in line with market rents in the area.

“The rent review is large, there is no denying that,” said Feeney.

“But it is large directly as a result of Government policy which… prevented rent reviews for a period of 2 years.”

Feeney said that Malinovsky had been unable to provide evidence to contest the rise in rent. He said that if he had an issue with the increase, he could file a claim with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) who would adjudicate on the matter.

“This has not, to date, happened,” said Feeney.

“Tyrrelstown amendment”

Such was the attention garnered by the Cruise Park tenants earlier this year that the government tabled the so-called “Tyrrelstown amendment” to the Residential Tenancies Bill 2016.

This would ensure that landlords with 20 or more properties cannot evict their tenants in one go (a move to prevent so-called vulture funds from causing mass evictions).

Coppinger said today that the amendment still didn’t go far enough in protecting the residencies of tenants.

The Government’s new rental strategy has been launched today. It will target areas with rising rents in Dublin and Cork with immediate effect, limiting rises in rent to 4% per year in these areas.

The residents have called for a meeting with housing Minister Simon Coveney to address the issue.

TheJournal.ie is awaiting comment from both the Housing Department and Twinlite in relation to the issues raised today.

With reporting from Sean Murray

Read: Tyrrelstown residents want immediate protection from vulture fund

Read: ‘Rent pressure zones’ in Dublin and Cork to be targeted in new rental action plan

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About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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