State-funded domestic violence charity sought to evict woman just before Christmas

A state-funded domestic violence charity was permitted to evict a woman from one of its properties just before Christmas last year.

Sonas claims to be Ireland’s “largest provider of frontline support services to women and children experiencing domestic abuse”. The charity last year received € 2,194,604 in state and local funding, the majority of which came from Tusla.

Headed by CEO Todd Prevost, a former law enforcement officer in the US state of Vermont, Sonas runs a crisis refuge, outreach services and prevention campaigns in aid of survivors of domestic abuse.

It also provides accommodation to domestic abuse survivors in certain circumstances. Among the properties it manages are residential complexes in Killester, Dublin 5, Ringsend, Dublin 4 and Corduff, north county Dublin. Tenants housed in some of these complexes pay rent to the charity.

These developments are built on local authority land and funded by grants provided under the government’s Capital Assistance Scheme.

In December 2021, Sonas took a case against one of its tenants at the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). The tenant, who lived in one of the charity’s Killester properties, responded by claiming that Sonas had breached its landlord obligations to her.  

Sonas had served the tenant a termination order in late June 2021 and looked for the RTB to enforce an eviction.

The RTB ruled in Sonas’s favour and ordered the tenant to vacate the property within two weeks. Because the ruling was made 8 December, the tenant would be required to leave the property by 22 December.

The RTB further ruled that the tenant pay Sonas €989.50 in rent arrears within six months.

Tenants in Sonas’s properties are required to meet certain criteria. They need to be eligible for social housing within the Dublin local authorities and they need to be considered at low-to-medium risk of “substance use/mental health-associated” issues. They also required to fulfil certain criteria related to criminal offences.

Sonas declined to comment.

G. Thompson

G. Thompson