Judge welcomes housing co-op talks

A District Court judge has welcomed talks taking place between tenants in a Leixlip social housing project and its voluntary board of directors.

A District Court judge has welcomed talks taking place between tenants in a Leixlip social housing project and its voluntary board of directors.

At Dublin District Court on 15 May, Judge Mary Collins was told by Karen Nolan B.L., Counsel for the board of Leim An Bhradain Housing Association Company (LBHA), that there was an agreement to adjourn the matter to 20 July.

The company LBHA has taken a number of tenants to Court over non payment of rent arrears.

Ms. Nolan said that meetings between the parties were taking place and an extra ordinary general meeting was taking place on 24 May, to hold elections to the LBHA volunteer board.

Previously, at Court 23 in Dublin District Court on 1 May, Judge Mary Collins, also adjourned cases against a smaller number of tenants, whom LBHA wanted to leave the houses.

Altogether, cases against seven people were listed for the hearing but two were adjourned.

Judge Collins welcomed news of the talks.

The tenants live at the Sli an Canal housing social development on the west side of Leixlip.

After hearing evidence on 1 May, Judge Collins said there was right and wrong on both sides and wondered aloud if there could be “a rethink” about the situation, by all the parties concerned.

She was “quite a history” to the dispute and she had to look at a situation where there is “genuine charity and social housing which has to survive.”

Equally, she said, there was a “huge lack of communications” between the parties.

Judge Collins said the cases were not clear cut. “There are rights and wrongs on both sides,” she said.

She said there had to be better communication and payment had to be made by tenants as well.

The Court heard then that for 22 of the 32 tenants any disagreements had been resolved.

Rent income was around €45,000 in the last accounts had risen to €60,000 for the most recent year.

Peter Devine, who became a director in July 2009, said he found arrears amounted to over €75,000.

For the tenants, the case is not just about rents but about the management of the estate.

Paul Stack, solicitor, for the tenants, had raised “concerns” about a large contract on boilers. Secondly, questions were also raised about money collected by a former director and potential “conflicts of interest” on the four person LBHA board.