From Iceland — Fire Department Evicts Renters Without Notice

Fire Department Evicts Renters Without Notice

Published December 8, 2014

Says Red Cross will take care no one ends on the street

Haukur Már Helgason
Photo by
Google Streetview
RÚV, screenshot

Says Red Cross will take care no one ends on the street

Earlier this Monday, the Capital Area Fire Department attempted to evict residents of rental apartments in Kópavogur, a municipality adjacent to Reykjavík. This was reported by RÚV. Some residents refused to leave. It seems that the residents were not notified before the attempted eviction.

The apartments are situated in a building originally intended for industrial purposes. Unsatisfying fire prevention measures at the premises are cited as the reason for the evacuation. The fire department also claims to have been misinformed about the number of the building’s inhabitants. According to RÚV, around ten people have been living there.

Chief Jón Viðar says that the fire department already notified the building’s owner and landlord that, unless renovated drastically, the building would be sealed off at the beginning of December. The owner accepted their rent for the month regardless. It seems, however, that no one notified the building’s actual inhabitants. Chief Jón Viðar said that they were understandably surprised when the fire department showed up.

Adrian Staszczuk

RÚV interviewed one of the residents, Adrian Staszczuk, on RÚV’s website. Adrian said that he was both angry and stressed: the fire department had appeared without notice and told the inhabitants to leave the premises immediately. “It was kind of strange,” he says, “because they came inside the building, knocked on the doors and said we have to move tonight. We have to back what we can today and will be moved to a Red Cross building or something like that. Everybody was in shock. It is the middle of the week. I didn’t know what to do.” He said that he does not expect to get his December rent refunded.

Some inhabitants have, reportedly, found other housing solutions, and some have accepted assistance offered by the Icelandic Red Cross. As for those remaining, Fire department chief Jón Viðar Matthíasson says that the team will make another attempt on Tuesday. If inhabitants still refuse to leave, he says, the department needs legal advice as to whether they are authorised to forcefully evict people.

The capital area’s rental market has been described as horrendous, insecure and unhealthy.

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