Eviction threat in Limerick over water charges retracted

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

The Shannon Arms complex in Henry Street, where a set of tenants were threatened with eviction over charges
THE founder of a management firm which warned tenants they would face eviction if they did not pay water charges says the letter containing the threat should not have been sent.

THE founder of a management firm which warned tenants they would face eviction if they did not pay water charges says the letter containing the threat should not have been sent.

John O’Dwyer, Limerick Residential Lettings (LRL) said it was a “huge oversight” to put the letter out to tenants in the Shannon Arms, and he has written to them apologising.

“It was just a mistake, and that is it. If anyone thinks for one second I would ask people to leave the Shannon Arms because they would not pay their water charges, it is not true,” he said.

Mr O’Dwyer, who founded the Catherine Street firm eight years ago, said the tenants he manages in the Shannon Arms are “probably my best in Limerick”.

Meanwhile, Irish Water has moved to clarify who is responsible for water charges when a property is rented.

The company said if a landlord alerts them as to who the occupier of the house is, the tenant will be liable.

If the house is vacant, the landlord is responsible.

“Should a tenant vacate a property without paying their bill in full or refuse to pay their bill, Irish Water can pursue the account holder as a contract debt through the courts,” Irish Water added.

Mr O’Dwyer hailed this as a “huge step forward”, and said it was unfair to expect landlords to pay the water charge in the first place.

“I have to live in the real world. Landlords pay their water charge. Landlords can not pay another man’s water bill. It just does not work out,” he said.

Cllr Cian Prendiville, Anti-Austerity Alliance, welcomed Mr O’Dwyer’s about turn, saying: “It was very overzealous, him playing the role of tax collector.”