A Dublin landlord who evicted tenants last year, telling them he was selling the apartments they were living in, has been ordered to stop offering them as short-term lets on Airbnb.
ublin City Council has given Marc Godart four weeks to stop letting the apartment block – Reuben House on Reuben Street in Dublin 8 – in the city centre as short-term holiday letting without planning permission.
The council has issued an enforcement notice ordering the “cessation of the unauthorised use of the property”, following an inspection.
The block houses a restaurant, offices and three apartment units.
Three tenants were evicted from the block last year and their apartments are now being used for short-term holiday letting on Airbnb, despite the landlord having no permission from the council to do so.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told Independent.ie she was evicted last August on the basis that the landlord was selling the property.
The tenant said another resident was told about their eviction through WhatsApp, and a day before the eviction was due, the electricity was cut to one apartment.
Following the eviction, the tenant filed a complaint with Dublin City Council in February and the council conducted an inspection of the property.
As a result of the inspection, the council issued the landlord, Mr Godart, with an enforcement notice on March 28 for “unauthorised use of the property” under Section 154 of the Planning and Development Act 2000.
“The cessation of the unauthorised use of the property at Reuben House, Reuben Street, Dublin 8 for short-term letting purposes,” said the enforcement notice.
The landlord has been given until April 28 to comply with the notice and stop short-term letting of the property.
In a rent pressure zone, a landlord requires permission from the council for short-term lettings when the property is not their “principal private residence”.
Councillor Darragh Moriarty said the short-term letting is “definitely illegal”.
“It’s definitely illegal, it’s illegal in a rent pressure zone to convert residential accommodation into short-term lets without planning permission,” he said.
“The tenants in this situation were told the building was for sale, and it hasn’t, he is planning future development on the site.”
Separately, a planning application was submitted last month to convert the building into a 16-bedroom aparthotel.
The planning officer in the case has been notified of the enforcement notice which is being taken into consideration when making a planning decision.
“The matter will be forwarded to the Senior Executive Planner, who will be making a decision as to whether the application should be invalidated,” said the enforcement notice.
The planning permission is seeking to convert the office space on the first and second floor and residential space from the third to the fifth floor into bedroom suites.
There are currently three large apartments on the third, fourth and fifth floors.
Permission is also being sought to change the two retail units on the ground floor, one of which is occupied by a restaurant and the other vacant, into a reception, laundry and amenity area.
The proposed development would include 16 bedrooms from the first to the fifth floor, with terraces along the Reuben Street facade at the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors.
According to planning documents, the development, which is near the Coombe Hospital, would provide “short stay residential accommodation” in the form of an aparthotel.
In its rationale for the conversion, the applicant said it had “discussions” with hospital executives and claimed “there is a need for affordable stays of several days/weeks for patient families that travel from other parts of the country to visit sick relatives”.
“If permission is granted, the applicant will seek to offer preferential access to hospital staff and relatives of patients in collaboration with the agreement of the hospitals,” planning documents said.
“The aparthotel will have only one-two staff and a maximum of 16-32 visitors at any one time,” it added.
It also said that the applicant is “willing to accept a suitable condition that limits short-term letting for a period of two months”.
Permission was lodged by Reuben Street Hot Desks Ltd last month to Dublin City Council and the application is open for observations until April 11.
Independent.ie attempted to contact the landlord for comment.
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