The entrance to the St Helen’s Court complex. Picture: Google Maps

RESIDENTS of 17 apartments in Dun Laoghaire have been told they need to vacate their homes within weeks in what is being described as the “naked abuse and exploitation of loop-holes”.

Two global investment funds, Apollo Global Management and Deutshe Bank – the landlords of St Helen’s Court – sent tenants letters from a receiver acting on the owners’ behalf, telling them to move out on various dates to allow for major refurbishments.

They have been ordered to vacate on various dates to facilitate the works to alarms, walls, electrics, floors and tiles. Tenants have been told they will then have the chance to re-rent the apartments, but subject to certain conditions.

Residents believe that this is an attempt by the landlords to exploit loopholes in rent restrictions as landlords can legally raise rents beyond the 4% annual increase limit if extensive refurbishments are made to a property.

It is understood that the two vulture funds tried to hike rents two days before the 4% cap on increases came into force.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett says that 17 families and households may end up homeless unless Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy intervenes and strengthens the law to stop such actions by “predatory” vulture funds.

Resident Derek Cawley, who is paying €1,000 per month for a one-bed apartment, told RTE that he has been looking for a new place to live but hasn’t found anywhere yet.

“Five weeks to get out, I can’t get anywhere … I went looking at two apartments during the week and by the time I got to them they were gone.”

‘Despicable’
Deputy Boyd Barrett condemned the situation as “despicable and immoral”.

He and the residents believe the extent of works being proposed by the owners are not necessary but are “a dishonest ruse to allow for the eviction of existing tenants and subsequent dramatic increases in rent”.

The landlords have made no comment on the situation.

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