Some 20 people who have lived for several years in two Dublin properties want the Court of Appeal to overturn an order requiring “persons unknown” to leave the properties.
The three-judge Court of Appeal will rule next week on the appeal over the disputed High Court order granted to Pepper Finance Corporation DAC in November 2020.
A separate judgment is awaited from the High Court on Pepper’s application for orders for attachment and committal against various respondents over failure to leave the properties on foot of the November order.
Pepper has said it wants orders for attachment – arrest – of those respondents represented in court for the purpose of being brought before the court. It has said the attachment orders should be stayed for a number of weeks to give the respondents a chance to make alternative arrangements.
Businessman Jerry Beades is the registered owner, but not an occupant, of the mortgaged properties at 31 Richmond Avenue, Fairview, and 21 Little Mary Street, Dublin 2, both made subject of High Court possession orders in 2008, affirmed by the Supreme Court in 2014.
The possession orders arose from default on loans made by IIB Bank and sold, respectively, to KBC Bank, Beltany Property Finance and, last August, to Pepper.
Pepper claims some €2.3million is outstanding on the loans and, as a result of the possession orders, the occupants, who include a number of Romanian nationals and two young children, cannot rely on lease or rental agreements between them and Mr Beades.
While some occupants claim to have paid rent over years to Mr Beades, there is no evidence, since the possession orders were made, that Mr Beades has paid rent to anyone, including Pepper, the High Court was previously told.
When the November order directing persons unknown to leave by February 5th was made, there was no appearance by the occupants. Twenty occupants, including a mother of two living in the Richmond Avenue property since 2005, have since been identified and say they were unaware of those proceedings.
On Thursday, George Burns BL, for the occupants, urged the Court of Appeal to overturn the November order. His clients are entitled to an opportunity to put their case before the High Court and they have an arguable case on grounds including they have acquired rights as a result of their rental leases or agreements with Mr Beades, he said.
Opposing the appeal, Marcus Dowling SC, for Pepper, said no basis had been advanced on foot of which the November order could be overturned.
Mr Beades had, from 2008, “absolutely no right” to lease the premises or create any tenancy and had collected rent from occupants who now admitted he was not entitled to do so, counsel said.
There is also no evidence of any tenancies now that give the occupants any rights, counsel said.
All the wrongs and unfairness which the occupants allege has been visited on them emanated from Mr Beades but no proceedings have been brought against him, counsel added.
Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly, sitting with Mr Justice Séamus Noonan and Ms Justice Una Ní Raifeartaigh, said the court will give its decision next week.