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Family Awarded €20k Settlement

By September 19, 2023 No Comments
Family Awarded €20k Settlement

Family Awarded €20k Settlement Following Years-Long Exposure to Damp and Mould in Apartment

A family of five has received a €20,000 settlement by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) after enduring over a decade of exposure to mould and dampness caused by structural defects in their apartment complex.

The complex, located in Gallery Quay on Grand Canal Dock in Dublin, is owned by social housing entity Tuath. The family moved in back in 2006 and soon found themselves grappling with recurring issues due to numerous leaks. Their plight was further exacerbated by dampness, leading to frequent replacements of curtains, bed linen, and furniture.

Excess Moisture

Experts have indicated that some of the social apartments in the complex did not meet acceptable construction standards. As a result of these problems, the family claimed to suffer from health issues such as asthma, chronic pulmonary disease, and nasal congestion. Furthermore, the excess moisture resulted in increased electricity and heating bills, necessitating the purchase of dehumidifiers.

In 2011, an environmental health officer from Dublin City Council inspected the property and ordered improvements. In 2014, Tuath initiated legal proceedings against several parties involved in the apartment complex’s development due to latent defects. Four years later, the tenants were temporarily relocated for remediation repairs, but these efforts did not resolve the persistent issues.

Rising Material Costs

Tuath argued that the apartment’s condition did not meet their standards for new tenants and placed responsibility for structural repairs on the management company. Although a tender for remedial work was issued in 2021, the repairs had not yet commenced. Delays were attributed to rising material costs, necessitating a restart of the tender process. As of now, work has yet to commence, with hopes for progress by late 2023 or early 2024.

The RTB awarded the tenants the maximum possible compensation of €20,000, citing “successive ineffective measures” and a lack of urgency in addressing substandard conditions. The RTB criticized Tuath for not pursuing practical and legal avenues more vigorously and emphasized the severity of the landlord’s obligations breach, considering the lengthy duration of the issue.

Tuath offered the tenants alternative accommodations, but the family deemed them unsuitable for their needs, further complicating the situation. Tuath is currently appealing the RTB’s decision, stating that the communal areas within the development are under the management company’s control rather than Tuath’s.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

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