A former garda who was sacked from his job after he was convicted of providing dangerously substandard accommodation is still advertising properties for rent to unsuspecting tenants, the Sunday Tribune has learned.
Kevin Galvin, who lives at Furry Park Road, Killester, Dublin, has also been the subject of further complaints to the housing charity Threshold since his dismissal from the force.
He was found during a previous council investigation to have had three adults and an 18-month-old baby living in a garden shed heated by an oven which he owned in Phibsborough, north Dublin.
Following his conviction late last year on three counts under health and safety legislation, Galvin was dismissed from An Garda Síochána, where he worked in IT at garda headquarters in Dublin.
However, the Sunday Tribune has established that Galvin continues to openly advertise numerous properties in Cabra Park and elsewhere to unsuspecting tenants, many of whom would be unaware of his history.
The housing charity Threshold also said it was forced to intervene on behalf of one woman last month, after she claimed Galvin refused to return her deposit for a one-bedroom property in Cabra Park.
The woman had no idea of Galvin's track record when she visited the property.
Speaking to the Sunday Tribune, Chabrina Roscourt said she paid a €400 deposit last month to Galvin for one of the units at a house in Cabra Park.
Roscourt, who is from Mauritius originally and works as a care assistant in a nursing home, said she took the property in the hope that she could clean it up to make it more habitable.
But when she changed her mind, she said Galvin refused to give her back her deposit. It was not until she contacted Threshold, which in turn raised the issue with Galvin on her behalf, that he eventually agreed to give her back her money.
"He said I was wasting his time, but I said I wanted my deposit… [eventually] he offered to clean the apartment, but I said no, I want my deposit," Roscourt told the Sunday Tribune. "He said he would give me €350, I said no. Then he offered €380, and I said no, I want my whole deposit back."
Threshold spokesman Kevin Baneham said it was aware of serious problems with the standard of accommodation Galvin continues to provide, and his approach to dealing with tenants.
He noted that Galvin recently settled a separate case taken by Threshold before the Private Residential Tenancies Board where he was accused of throwing out one of his tenants after they complained about the poor standards there.
He added that at least one of Galvin's properties had been "blacklisted", meaning tenants cannot receive rent allowance if they want to live there.
"It is galling that Mr Galvin continues to rent such poor-quality accommodation. There is no fitness to practise test for landlords," he said. "There are higher standards of repair required now. But the system is still too reactive.
"We want to see a certification procedure along the lines perhaps of the BER certificate for energy rating. This would mean that before you rent out a property, it has to be certified as being fit for purpose. So the tenant would know it's certified."
Galvin did not respond when contacted by the Sunday Tribune last week.
Posing as a potential tenant from France, the Sunday Tribune visited one of the properties owned by Galvin at Cabra Park in Dublin.
It was advertised on the www.property.ie website as a one double bedroom furnished flat with one bathroom "in a lovely location near St Peter's Church" at €100 per week.
The contact name for the advertisements was "Joe" and there were no photos of the accommodation included.
We were eventually greeted by Galvin who told us his name was Joe. He led us up a narrow stairs before showing us an apartment on the top floor (above) and another lower down the building.
Both were sparsely furnished and extremely poorly decorated.
Despite being advertised for €100 a week, Galvin said in conversation that these "good one-beds" would cost between €110-€115 a week. ESB was not included, but waste was.
He also offered to show us cheaper studios for around €95 per week at a house in Benburb Street, Smithfield.
Former garda Kevin Galvin was convicted late last year on three counts under health and safety legislation relating to a number of properties he was renting out. An internal garda inquiry following his conviction led to his dismissal after the cabinet approved the move.
During legal action taken by Dublin City Council against him, the High Court heard that two of the properties rented out by him represented a "clear and present danger".
At one of the properties, on Phibsborough Road, north Dublin, three adults and a baby were living in what was described as a shed in the back yard heated by an oven.
The other property, at Cabra Park, was divided into flats. A council fire prevention officer deemed the Cabra Park and Phibsborough Road properties to be a fire hazard and a risk to the tenants.
The court subsequently granted the council a number of injunctions directing Galvin to vacate the properties .
However, the case was settled last month after the court heard that one of the Cabra Park properties had obtained a fire certificate. Galvin also undertook to convert two other properties to single dwelling units.