A BRACKLONE Street resident says his house will become uninhabitable if a gaping hole in the adjoining house isn’t fixed.
Tony Murrell has lived in his two storey Portarlington house for the past nine years. He claims the Irish bank who own the repossessed house next door are “totally uninterested” in blocking up a massive hole in the roof of the house. The hole in the flat roof extension is letting rainwater flood in, causing mould to grow through the walls into his house.
“There is part of my house that I can’t live in. The smell has gone from the rear bedroom into the rest of my house now. At the moment, I have the window open 24 hours a day, I have bought airfresheners, I have spent over €100 in paint and sealant to keep the mould out,” he said.
Tony has tried every avenue to get the roof repaired and protect his own property. The neighbouring house, beside the boarded up apartments at St Brigid’s, has been vacant for the past two years.
Initially he contacted the owners of the house to ask them to repair the flat roof, but says he was told to ”feck off”.
Last Friday, August 17 an energy assessor visited the vacant house. He told Tony that a certain bank had repossessed it.
“I spent three and a half hours on the phone to this bank last Monday, appealing to them to send someone out and get a sheet over the roof. They kept moving me around, I spoke to four different departments. They are completely disinterested in making a speedy repair,” he said.
The frustrated homeowner rang his own mortgage company to see if they could contact the owners on his behalf.
“They told me they can’t speak to the bank. I told them I would put a hold on my next mortgage payment, which I am completely up to date on. They said they were putting me through to their legal department, but instead put me onto someone who offered help if I was having trouble making repayments,” he said.
Tony also contacted his home insurance company.
“I told them I could be making a claim, and asked them to go to this bank and ask them to fix the roof. They told me I’m to take legal action. I am unemployed, I would have to spend €100 on a solicitor. If I go down the legal aid route, there will be weeks more of rain. We have had a deluge of rain and more is forecast,” he said.
A former builder, he says he has to resist trying to fix the roof next door himself.
“Legally I’m told I would be in serious trouble, I’ve got ladders, screws, timber, I could do it in twenty minutes, but they could say I’ve caused it all in the first place,” he said.
Tony also contacted Laois Offaly TD Charlie Flanagan, and Laois County Council, but is still awaiting calls back.
“I have come to the conclusion that nobody is bothered about nobody. If I put an insurance claim, they are not going to challenge it, they will pay out and we will all pay bigger premiums, Everybody is sitting on the fence. They all know they have got you, me and every citizen over a barrel,” he said.