Couple who feared 'sleeping in their car' get an extra two months to quit rented home
A distraught Dublin couple who feared their children would be forced to “sleep in their car” have been granted an eviction reprieve and two months to find a new home.
Dublin District Court had originally granted an order giving tenants Richard Lodge and his wife, Jacqueline Flood, six months to move out of their rented house at Eagle Hill in south Dublin.
Two days before the deadline, and citing the housing crisis, they sought a stay on the order.
It had been granted on March 11th to a personal representative and executor of the late Bernard O’Carroll’s will.
The house sale on behalf of the beneficiaries has been held up and can only proceed after the property has been vacated.
But the couple's barrister read an affidavit from them pleading for more time. It stated they had been unable to find suitable accommodation despite “determined efforts” and “my family will be made homeless and forced to sleep in the car” and use a leisure centre to shower.
The couple, who have two children in secondary school, claimed they could not find a new rented home due to the housing crisis and needing a reference from a prior landlord.
The third reason cited by the couple was the impact it had on Mr Lodge’s health problems.
However, Judge Marie Quirke noted that in the six months since she made the order, they had not sought a reference from the executor, who was expecting them to make contact.
The court heard that the couple were supported by People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett and the Community Action Tenants Union (CATU) for renters.
Judge Quirke also heard that the TD and members of CATU, including Ms Flood, had taken part in protests outside the executor's home and pictures were uploaded to social media.
Mr Boyd Barrett accompanied the couple to the proceedings on Thursday.
The judge said the executor was under strain and carrying out duties for the beneficiaries, and had no working relationship with the couple.
After being contacted by their solicitor on Monday, a reference was provided to the couple.
The court also heard of possible inheritance tax implications for the beneficiaries, even though the house sale has been delayed.
Ms Flood said rent payments were made but bounced back, but in cross-examination, she accepted she made a mistake in not contacting the executor directly or through lawyers about the reference.
Judge Quirke heard that previously, 14 protesters turned up at the executor's home and that Ms Flood and the TD were present.
The court heard that Mr Lodge was co-owner of his parents’ home in Kilbarrack, Dublin, where his mother lives; however, it was not open to them to move there.
Judge Quirke remarked that these were unusual circumstances and noted, “no reference sought, no reference given”. Concluding that there were faults on both sides, she granted a further stay on the eviction order, which expires on November 16th at midday.