LIMERICK CITY tenants are being threatened with eviction if they do not pay their water charges.
Some tenants in the Shannon Arms building, Henry Street, received a letter from their management company, Limerick Residential Lettings (LRL) on Monday night regarding the new charge, which came into force this month.
The move has been criticised as “outrageous” by local councillor John Loftus, and the Catherine Street-based management firm has been strongly criticised by one tenant.
The letter, seen by the Leader, said LRL will be going around to people’s apartments to check who is registered.
The letter from John O’Dwyer, founder of LRL, which manages the properties on behalf of the landlords, reads: “There will be a €50 call-out to charge for non-registered properties. Should any tenant refuse to sign up with Irish Water, we will have no option but to issue notice for vacant possession. Everyone has to pay for the water they use, no excuses accepted.”
The tenant, who did not wish to be named, said: “It would appear this agent has taken on the role of tax collector, or is acting on behalf of the water board, and trying to impose a fee on people who have not even signed the paper work. It is very bully boy. There are people in the building who are elderly and struggling.
“People are being put under enough pressure by our government, let alone to have this document coming in at nighttime and adding to their pressure.”
Limerick Residential Lettings is the management firm for around 30 units at the Shannon Arms. It also manages units in other complexes across the city.
Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor Loftus, who lives near the Shannon Arms, said the eviction threat represented a “return to Victorian times”.
“I think it is terrible. The threat to people being kicked out of their homes is totally unjustifiable. Irish Water is a utility firm. Would you be threatened with eviction if you did not, or could not pay your electricity bill?” he asked.
But Mr O’Dwyer defended the letter, saying at present landlords pay taxes between 57% and 62%.
The cost of water charges would fall on the landlord if a tenant did not pay, and he said: “I am not exposing landlords to these bills, no way”.