The tenants of the luxury Marianella apartment complex in Rathgar, Dublin say they are not allowed to use the property’s gym, meeting rooms or roof terrace, according to the Irish Times.
The residents also say that – unlike their private neighbours – they cannot keep pets and are not permitted to attend residents’ meetings.
19 units of the apartments on Orwell Road were sold to the council in fulfilment of obligations under part five of the 2000 Housing Act, where developers must offer 10 per cent of units in developments of 10 or more homes for social housing.
Approved housing body Fold Housing manages Marianella’s part five apartments, the Orwell Hall block, on behalf of the council.
Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said the exclusion of the households in the complex is “just the latest example” of “social exclusion operating under the guise of social inclusion”.
Jane Doyle-Reilly and her husband Robert Reilly, who moved to the apartments from a council flat in the city centre, described feeling “stigmatised” in the development.
“We wanted to join the gym but were told very bluntly, ‘Oh no, Orwell Hall, we don’t deal with them’.”
The couple also had to give up the dog of their younger son – who had passed away – before moving, as Fold has a strict no-pets policy while private residents can have pets.
“I cried giving him up. When I was here a few days and I saw everyone else here walking their dogs, I was fit to be tied,” Ms Doyle-Reilly said.
Another resident, Tenia Karim said shortly after he moved into his apartment in January 2019 he left his gym in Dartry to join the gym on his doorstep.
However, he was told he could not join because he lives in Orwell Hall.
We are a charitable organisation of limited resources
A spokeswoman for Fold Housing, which made unsuccessful representations on his behalf, explained that as it has paid reduced management fees its tenants could not access the gym.
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The Fold spokeswoman said all tenants were made aware of its “no pet policy” prior to moving in.
“Feedback from our tenants in Marianella is that they are very happy… Our service agreement does not provide for membership of the gym/resident’s club. We are a charitable organisation of limited resources and they are focused on the provision of housing to our tenants.”
A council spokesman said the authority had service level agreements with all approved housing bodies managing council units, with tenants signing a tenancy agreement with the body as the named landlord.
Petra management did not respond to several requests from the Irish Times for interview.