Luxury rental company Period Door Properties is ‘hopelessly insolvent’ and will be wound up
Singer Bob Geldof among those in dispute with the firm
A company which rents luxury properties on behalf of landlords - including one of singer Bob Geldof - is to be wound up by order of the High Court.
The court was told on Thursday efforts to save Period Door Properties Ltd (PDP) collapsed due to the withdrawal last week by Ulster Bank of overdraft and credit facilities and the withdrawal by Daft.ie of advertising services.
Coupled with the behaviour of certain sub-tenants, to whom PDP rented rooms, by allegedly refusing to pay their rent and utility bills, the company is hopelessly insolvent and sought liquidation so that other tenants who are paying their bills can be treated fairly, the court was also told.
PDP's business was to rent whole houses in upmarket areas of Dublin from landlords and then sub-let individual rooms in those properties.
Among 20 properties in places like Ballsbridge, Clontarf, Monkstown, Rathgar and Donnybrook, is one in Crosthwaithe Park South, Dun Laoghaire, whose landlord is Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats.
Ken Fogarty SC, for PDP, told the court as a result of the Ulster Bank and DAFT developments there had been a significant alteration in the company's financial standing and it had been decided to seek a withdrawal of the examinership petition and its replacement with an application to appoint a liquidator.
The court heard PDP director Geoff Hogan, in an affidavit, said the company did "not jump the gun" by applying for examinership last month. This was in circumstances where, under threat of liquidation by creditors, Mr Hogan considered further investment and remedial management steps would ensure the viability of the firm.
It was the company's belief that, in circumstances where significant sums are owed to it, that if collected they would allow it discharge most of its liabilities.
However, the emergency measures introduced by the Government to deal with the pandemic, made for an "impossible trading environment".
A significant number of sub-tenants stopped paying rent and continued using utilities like power and heat, and because they were mostly at home, those utility bills increased significantly and were also not paid for, the court was told. Others just moved out without notice, Mr Hogan said.
Certain sub-tenants, with the capacity to pay, acted opportunistically by abusing the Covid regulations which prevented the turning off of utilities, he said.
The housing charity, Threshold, negatively contributed to the company's position by giving opinions without all the relevant facts, he said.
The court was told that there was a threat to "name and shame" management and agents, including through social media, despite the fact the company was in an examinership process.
The company was subject of unwarranted adverse publicity, much of it often generated by those refusing to pay rent and where the company could not respond as it would impact on subsequent litigation against those responsible, he said.
In relation to certain landlords who the company was acting for, it was claimed that some illegally retook control of the properties and looked for rent to be paid directly to them.
The examiner, Andrew Feighery, principal of GCG Associates, said the company was "hopelessly insolvent" and winding up was more appropriate. He said if appointed liquidator, he intends to pursue the numerous outstanding sums due to the company to maximise collections for creditors and endeavour to ensure remaining tenants are treated fairly.
The court heard the landlords of a Sydney Parade Avenue property had written a letter seeking to be awarded priority for legal costs over what they said the "hamfisted" and inappropriate examinship application when it was clear examinership was not the way out of difficulties.
Mr Justice Michael Quinn refused to grant those costs.
He said it was clear the company was no longer viable and appointed Mr Feighery as liquidator. He ordered the director Mr Hogan to file a statement of affairs.