Marc Godart and the law: Landlord and property letting agent facing range of criminal and civil court cases

Four of the ten Dublin city properties issued with fire safety notices last year were associated with Godart

Controversial landlord Marc Godart and two of his companies have featured in four court cases since the start of the year, accused of breaches of the planning laws, fire safety laws, and failure to pay due debts.

The Luxembourg native, who moved here approximately a decade ago to invest in property and develop a short-term letting business, has also been the subject of a series of successful complaints to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) that resulted in financial awards being made in favour of the complainants, some of which remain unpaid.

The following are some of the legal issues that the activities of Godart and his companies have raised.

Fire Safety

Godart and one of his companies, Green Label Property Investments Ltd, are before the District Court in a case taken by Dublin City Council (the fire authority) alleging a failure to comply with a fire safety notice dated June 29th, 2023. The notice was issued against Unit 1, Block G, the Foundry, Beaver Street, Dublin 1, a ground floor commercial premises that was being used for residential accommodation. Green Label, of which Godart is a director, was represented in court when the case came before Judge Michael Ramsey on January 30th last. The matter was put back to a date in March.


A fire safety notice is an official document informing the owner and/or occupier of a potentially dangerous building that it is not to be used. The serving of such notices is a relatively rare event when measured against the number of buildings in Dublin city. Last year, ten fire safety notices were issued, of which four were in relation to properties linked to Godart. There are currently three cases alleging noncompliance before the courts, according to the council. Summary convictions (ie convictions at District Court level) carry a potential fine of up to €500, or six months imprisonment, or both.

Unauthorised letting

The Beaver Street property, which is owned by Green Label, is one of three properties cited in a separate series of actions taken by the council over alleged unauthorised short-term letting, contrary to the planning laws. Buildings that are not a primary residence require permission to be used as short-term lets.

Godart and Green Label were before the District Court on January 16th in relation to alleged breaches of section 151 of the Planning and Development Acts 2000 – 2003. The other properties involved are 11 Capel Street and Unit 2A, The Forge, Railway Street, both in Dublin 1. Again, the company director and the company were represented in court. The case was put back to a date in April by Judge Anthony Halpin after solicitor for the council, Michael Quinlan, sought an “urgent hearing date” for the case, which involved offences allegedly committed in June of last year.

Persons or entities found guilty in the District Court of breaches of section 151 can face a fine of up to €5,000, or up to six months imprisonment for a person. Last year Dublin City Council initiated proceedings against 13 properties alleging breaches of the short-term letting code.

Non-payment of an RTB award

A former tenant of one of Godart’s companies who complained successfully to the Residential Tenancies Board that she had been unlawfully evicted was granted an award of €15,433. However, the company, Green Label Short Lets Ltd, never paid the money.

Lizet Pena-Herrera then went to the District Court where the award was confirmed, but the money was still not paid. The Sheriff’s Office was then enlisted, but it appears the company had no assets that could be seized.

Now lawyers on behalf of Pena-Herrera are asking the High Court that Godart, as director of the company, come before the court and explain why the award, and costs of €1,200 plus VAT that have since accumulated, have not been paid.

When the case came before Mr Justice Brian Cregan on January 29th, Green Label Short Lets had legal representation in court and the case was put back, on consent, to a later date. Filings by the company show Godart’s mother, Denise Godart, resigned as a director of Green Label Short Lets in September of last year.

Non-payment of legal costs

In January of last year, the High Court was to hear a claim against Godart, Green Label Property Investments and two business associates of Godart’s, Claude Fettes and Annette Cooper Fettes, in a case taken by a minor alleging the defendants turned the building containing the apartment where the child lived, on Merrion Square, Dublin 2, into “a building site” in the wake of their buying it in 2014.

Among the claims made against the defendants were personal injury, nuisance, intimidation, breach of privacy, false imprisonment, and emotional distress. It was claimed that utilities were turned off, fire alarms were tested “at strange times”, security operatives were moved into the building, and CCTV cameras were installed that faced the door of the child’s apartment. The child suffered serious health difficulties during the period, it was claimed.

It was also claimed that gardaí, officials from Dublin City Council and officials from the Health and Safety Authority attended the building during the period, with the health and safety officials attending under Garda escort.

The matter was settled just as it was about to go to trial and a costs order was made against the defendants, with the plaintiff’s legal team saying the preparation for the case was particularly complex and time-consuming. The child’s legal representatives are now complaining of a lack of engagement from the defendants and are seeking payment of two-thirds of a summary bill of the costs they are owed pending final adjudication, with an assurance that any surplus to what is ultimately adjudicated would be returned.

The matter has come before the High Court on two occasions, with the court ordering interim payments of €20,000 and €10,000 respectively, in October of last year and January of this year, and remains a live issue.

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Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent