Ronan Kelly writes:
My hobby is travelling around the country by bike and Irish Rail/Bus Éireann – I shoot short videos of people I meet.
Fisherman’s Quay, Grove Island, Limerick city; Kersten Mehl of KMPM
You’ll recall the Tyrrelstown amendment.
It was added to the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill 2016 before Christmas.
It had originally proposed that where a landlord proposes to sell 20 or more units in a development – within six months – the sales would be conditional on existing tenants being able to remain in the property unless there were exceptional circumstances.
During a Seanad debate on this amendment, the number was changed from 20 to five.
But on foot of advice from the Attorney General, the Minister for Housing Simon Coveney increased this figure, from five to 10.
Readers may also wish to note how director of advocacy Focus Ireland Mike Allen in January stated that “a third of families who are becoming homeless in Dublin are becoming homeless because their landlord has been forced to sell up“.
Further to this…
Last week, it was reported in Limerick Leader that up to 14 families renting apartments in Fisherman’s Quay, Grove Island, Limerick city are facing eviction after they received letters on Good Friday informing them that they had to leave their properties by different dates this summer.
The letters were issued by Kersten Mehl Property Management which has managed the complex for the past eight years. KMPM sent the letters on behalf of Munster Pensioner Trustees Ltd – a group which intends to sell the property.
This morning, RTÉ’s Brian O’Connell reported on the matter during the Today with Seán O’Rourke Show. He reported that around tenants in eight properties are affected.
“Anywhere up to about 10,11, 12 tenants could be affected in those properties. The notices were served by the new landlords of these properties. They are the Munster Pension Trustees Limited. So, at some point, these properties went into receivership. They were sold, this pension trust bought the properties. They bought, I understand, the 14 properties in a bundle for about €1.1million, I work out that’s about €75,000-€78,000 per property. So, now they’ve decided to sell eight of the 14 properties. They’re probably going to get on the open market between €100,000 and €120,000 for those properties and that will obviously reduce then significantly their outlay on the six properties that they’re going to hold on to. And this decision to sell is impacting on a mix of tenants I met from young families to pensioners.”
Mr O’Connell’s report included interviews with some of the tenants who have received these letters and Kersten Mehl, who has 40 years’ experience in property letting and whose company currently manages more than 900 properties across Limerick.
From the interview with Mr Mehl…
Kirsten Mehl: “We’re told there’s families, right? I looked at, who’s registered here among the eight units. So, you’ve got two couples, I don’t think they’ve children, you’ve two single people, so that’s three, and of the other five, they’re registered in a single person, only one person. So it’s not a question of turfing out families, but…”
O’Connell: “But you’re still turfing people out?”
Mehl: “No, we’re asking people. Basically, it’s fully within the rights of the owners to say we want the property and we want to sell it. Right? No tenant, no, no, let me finish this, Brian. No tenant, right, has a guaranteed right and was ever promised a guaranteed right by any agent or any owner that they could stay there as long as they wanted. You can look into the morality of it, right? But…”
O’Connell: “But you don’t think there’s anything being done wrong here, in terms of the morality of it, do you?”
Mehl: “Absolutely not and I’ll tell you why. Because, like, there’s hundreds of thousands of investors who had their mortgages increased while the market was retreating. I’ve no problem with the tenant legislation, I’ve no problem with the improvement in housing standards but there is no morality, right, in the way investors have been treated. I actually think that we’re on the cusp of large-scale selling. Now…”
O’Connell: “If it was your granddaughter in here, with her child, and got this letter in the door last week, you wouldn’t be happy about it.”
Mehl: “There’s plenty of things I’m not happy about but you know what…”
O’Connell: “But do you think it would be right then, in that instance, that someone who’d made a commitment, maintained the property here and suddenly, because somebody wants to make a few bob, and has bought into it, bought an asset that was in receivership probably, and now they can flip it, to hell with the tenants?”
Mehl: “But, like, there is other properties out there..”
O’Connell: “But isn’t the problem that there isn’t?”
Mehl: “There is because I tell you what. Since January, I have probably sent out 40 notices plus for individual owners that are selling. Owners are now departing the market, landlords are departing the market in a fairly significant scale because, you know what, the equity, we’re getting near the situation where they’re break-even and they’re out the door. Well, I would expect if it was my daughter and my granddaughter, I would expect my daughter to find alternative accommodation.”
O’Connell: “I’m going to be meeting some of the tenants now and you can imagine what they’re going to be saying. A lot of them are saying they’re not going anywhere.”
Mehl: “Well, that’s fine, right? That’s there decision and then the investors have to make their decision but like that’s taking the law into their own hands, ok? There’s law there. If they want to change the law, they can change the law. But I guarantee you one thing, you bring in long tenure in this country, in the rented sector right now and you have a bigger crisis then we already have.”
O’Connell: “And why not sell them with the tenant in situ, as is done with commercial property, we see it all the time, tenants not affected.”
Mehl: “I can answer that question because that’s a very good example you’ve given. Because a property is enhanced in commercial when there’s a tenant because you’ve a guaranteed rental flow but in residential, ok, that’s not necessarily the case because potentially you’re always looking for an owner-occupier.”
O’Connell: “What happens if the tenants dig their heels in here? Are you going to be down here trying to pull people out of their homes?”
Mehl: “Course I’m not. It’s not my job, that’s a sheriff’s job, ok but like, you know, I’m 40 years in the business, I don’t know what’s going to happen here but I know where I am in this situation, as in, I’ve given the notice and after that, well things just go flow from here.”
Listen back in full here
From top: Irish Cement factory, Mungret, Limerick; A dust laden car over the weekend
Irish cement dust?
Tim Hourigan writes:
At the weekend there was a dust blow out from the Irish Cement factory just on the outskirts of Limerick City.
It coated cars and houses in four nearby estates in a grey, gritty, very adhesive dust similar to a larger blowout in 2015.
The company is vehemently denying that there was any incident and that they are the source of the dust.
This comes just a matter of weeks after the factory received planning permission to build storage and handling equipment to feed tyres, plastics, solvents and other wastes into the kiln (which has a history of blowouts including two very large ones in recent years).
It also comes just before the deadline for appealing that planning decision.
Limerick Against Pollution worked on a joint appeal with other groups and individuals who had originally objected to the planning. That included the residents associations of 6 nearby estates and dozens of individuals.
By the time it was submitted, there were 45 parties to the joint appeal.
Approximately 2,000 people have lodged objections with the EPA about the proposal, and just about every councillor has condemned the decision.
Clare councillors also proposed a motion to appeal it, as Limerick Council had not informed Clare Co. Co. of their intention to grant permission.
However, a last minute amendment from Fine Gael councillors in Clare County Council saw this defeated, with the councillors instead proposing an objection to the EPA.
You should also have a listen to this – https://www.live95fm.ie/on-air/shows/limerick-today/limerick-today-podcasts/march-2017/limerick-today-councillors-and-residents-have-gr/ An interesting 12 minutes for local radio :)
Consultants brought in to ‘educate’ councillors about the project were grilled by councillors, and when asked by councillor Frankie Daly, why they made no reference to the European Commission report on the Cement industry, the consultant said he wasn’t familiar with the report.
The report from 2013 contains figures showing that filter failures in Irish cement factories are more than 20 times higher than those in Germany cement factories.
GROUNDS – Irish blood, English situation
What you may need to know…
01. Loud, Limrocker-fronted noises, based in London. That’s Grounds, properly weighty rock ‘n’ roll in the mid-’00s Brit post-hardcore vein.
02. Having assembled mid-last year, the band has been slowly making their way around their city’s gig scene, garnering adoring eyes from local media and UK rock blogs in the process.
03. Streaming above is the video for debut single Stutter, available for streaming and download over at their Bandcamp.
04. No word on any flights home for live dates, which needs rectifying, but London-based readers can catch them on a stacked punk gig at Luna on April 30th.
THOUGHTS: Noisy and unpretentious, with a fair amount of heft in those tones. Grand.
Casavettes – Limerick alternative upstarts
What you may need to know…
01. A pensive, post-hardcore take on the broad alternative/indie sound is offered up by Limrock upstarts Casavettes.
03. Streaming above is new single Reunion, released last week via the band’s Bandcamp, accompanied by sleepy b-side In April.
04. Catch them next on April 7th in Limerick, supporting Anna’s Anchor at the Loft venue in a full-band show, with Empty Lungs and Life Goals alongside them on the bill.
Thoughts: Dense in their heavier moments, and weighing heavy even in moments of relative levity, “evocative” might even be too stock a word for these lads.
Post-Punk Podge – Limerick agitprop
What you may need to know…
01. A very tall man clothed in padded envelopes and The Fall T-shirts, known to turn up at Naive Ted gigs to commandeer the house mic, has begun filing his own material for release.
02. Ted’s label, The Unscene, possibly out of some sort of intimidation or duress, has relented to his ideas, and a collaborative E.P. between the two is due this year.
03. Streaming above is debut single Post-Punk Election Party, released last May with the aid of his house band, the Technohippies. Possibly still relevant given the recent tumult in the Dáil?
04. He’s posting videos of himself in training for the next Community Skratch Games, in Galway over the upcoming Easter Weekend.
Thoughts: A riot for punx, noise types and the Irish political spectatorship alike. Worth the listen for the opening verse’s imagery alone!
Decent Irish hip-hop, this time from Limerick’s Jonen Dekay.
The first video to be released through upstart Irish hip-hop label UNDRRATED, for his track Articulated.
Make what you might of the video, aesthetic, etc., but that lad is barely eighteen years old, if even, and this entire track was done in one take. Ridiculous.
Slow Riot – post-punk from Limerick
What you may need to know…
01. Limerick trio Slow Riot have been working away on honing their post-punk/shoegazing haze since the last time we checked in with them (coincidentally on this week last year).
02. They’ve busied themselves in the meantime, with late-2016 single Absent Dreams clocking BBC Radio airplay and earning adoring glances from U.K. and Irish music press.
03. Streaming above is new single Pink December, officially released yesterday on all major online download and streaming outlets.
04. Having done the rounds of the U.K. in the latter months of last year, they’re now hunkered down to finish their debut long-player for the label, due later this year.
Thoughts: A cavernous atmosphere takes an introspective slice of post-punk and makes something more of it, stuck halfway between grooving and sludgy tones.
Naive Ted – further teasings of The Minute Particulars?
What you may need to know…
01. Regular YMLT readers will be well-up on Naive Ted by now if they weren’t before. Lucha-masked weirdo beats king resident in Limrock.
02. Following up from 2015’s The Inevitable Heel Turn album this year will be The Minute Particulars, a series of collaborations and jams that, according to Ted’s representative Andy Connolly in last night’s Evening Echo, isn’t necessarily a formal album, either.
03. Streaming above is the found-footage vidjo for newly-released track Grind Manifest. This may or may not be part of the aforementioned project.
04. Naive Ted plays the Roundy in Cork tomorrow night at 10.45 as part of Quarter Block Party, triumphantly returning to a spot his performances have left worse for wear in the past.
Thoughts: The line between electronica and demented sound-art in Ted’s output continues to blur wildly.