Above: The “make it up as we go along” approach to tenants rights that a certain subsect of the slumlord species adheres to.
Landlords are hiking up rents and leaving basic maintenance neglected, contributing to the return of turn-of-the-century tenement-style slums in Dublin. The return of slum accommodation has brought a return to the landlord tactics of old – illegal rack renting, overcrowding, and of course evictions. Sheila Meskill was on the ground for rabble today and brings us this report of people resisting being turfed out.
The slumlord in question has properties all over the North Dublin area, in and around Mountjoy Square. According to residents he has been jacking up the rent by hundreds of euros at a time in complete disregard for even the government’s lukewarm attempt at limiting rent increases. This time though, he might have found he’s bitten off more than he could chew
He has ignored repeated attempts by the tenants to bring him to the Private Rental Tenancy Board to challenge neglect over maintenance issues. The landlord even refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the PRTB. Hardly a surprise, given that he appears to not even recognize the Irish state.
Apparently, he considers himself something of a ‘Freeman.’ He belongs to one of the wackier social movements of our time -’the freemen of the land’ – a weird bunch of conspiracy theorists and libertarians who don’t consider themselves bound by the law. Throw in a load of nautical-sounding words and you have some right eccentric auld shite. Odder again when, bound up in mysticism with a wistful eye cast back to the High Kings and Druids of Brehon Ireland.
Just have a gawk at this sign that was nailed to the the back door of the entrance to the property. Obviously, the list of infringements are completely illegal. One day late with rent and a charge of 10%? Nuts! However, tenants have been fighting back.
When the landlord showed up today and had the door broken down, leaving all the tenants’ possessions bundled out in the hall, an urgent call out was sent out through the various grassroots housing groups at 1pm, to tackle the eviction. Activists and tenants were able to force their way back into the apartment.
The landlord called on his ‘private security’ firm to prevent tenants from re-entering the property. As more Gardai arrived, the gang were forced to disperse after a standoff.
More updates as they come.