A MOTHER of four, three of whom are aged 13 or younger, has told The Clare Champion that the family has lived at eight different addresses around Clare since moving out of long-term rented accommodation in Connolly last September.
In recent weeks, Deirdre McGrath and her children have lived in Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)-funded rented accommodation in Kilfenora but must move out this week.
Up to securing that accommodation, the mother and her three younger children lived in friends’ houses across the county.
“We took on a lease in Kilfenora but within a month, we got a notice of termination. The landlord’s circumstances have changed and he wishes to move back in,” Deirdre McGrath explained.
She said it is very difficult to find accommodation where the landlord will accept HAP.
“The consequences of HAP is landlords have to invest money into the dwelling to bring it up to standard. The guidelines can be quite tight,” she said.
HAP is a form of social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. Under the scheme, local authorities pay landlords directly. The rent charged for the accommodation must be within the limits set down for the household type in that local authority’s area. Tenants pay a weekly HAP rent contribution to the local authority, based on their income and ability to pay.
Prior to the current situation, where they have lived at several locations in the last seven months, the family lived in Kanturk, Connolly for approximately three years.
After a projected wrangle, they moved out of that house last September. Ms McGrath had complained about the noise level from ongoing windfarm-related work and the matter had ultimately ended up at the Residential Tenancies Board.
“The appellant landlord shall pay the sum of €2,000 to the respondent tenant, within 28 days of the date of the Determination Order, being damages in respect of the consequences for the tenant of landlord’s failure to allow her to enjoy peaceful existence and exclusive occupation of the dwelling,” the Residental Tenancies Board Determination Report read.
The order was made on March 28.
The report also made reference to losses “as a result of the landlord’s failure to deal in a reasonable manner with possessions left behind, when the tenant vacated the dwelling in respect of the tenancy at Kanturk Cross, Connolly,” the report added.
Ms McGrath is uncertain where her family will go next, when they move from Kilfenora.
“We’re going to stay with friends and store our stuff again. I’ve been to the homeless unit in the council but the onus is on me to find private rented accommodation. There was one other house in Ballyvaughan and that was it in terms of distance to school and friends. Unless we completely relocate,” she suggested.
By Peter O’Conne