Akari, a coastal town of less than 1,000 residents in the northeast of Ireland, has the largest concentration of rent-stabilised apartments in the country.

In its heyday in the 1980s, Akari boasted of being the country’s most rent-controlled city.

But it’s now a place of desperate desperation.

As one resident told The Irish Mail: ‘You know there are a lot of people here who can’t afford to pay the rent.

They are living on a tight budget.’

Akari was among the first in the county to implement rent control in 1996.

Rent-stampers are required to pay their rent on time and for a fixed period of time.

This includes up to two years in a row.

The local government said the move was aimed at preventing landlords from using the rental market to extract a profit.

‘The aim is to reduce the amount of rent that is paid,’ said the council’s deputy director for housing, Paul McGinty.

The council has also taken steps to encourage rent-free accommodation in the city centre.

But some locals say this is not enough.

‘There are lots of people living in the apartment and some of them don’t pay rent,’ said one resident.

‘They don’t know what is happening in the community.

There is an absolute lack of understanding.’

The city council’s latest action comes as part of a €1.4 million (£1.2 million) programme to improve the city’s infrastructure, including roads and sewers.

It aims to improve sanitation, water quality and other infrastructure in the town, as well as providing schools, shops and recreation facilities.

The move comes in the wake of an investigation by the Guardian which found many of Akari’s residents were unable to afford the rent they were paying for their properties.

‘It is a big problem, there are many landlords that use the market to get a profit,’ said Ms McGintya.

‘A lot of apartments are rent-linked.’

Akarikans residents said they had been subjected to aggressive eviction notices and were regularly threatened with eviction.

‘I’ve had to have the locks changed and had a neighbour get arrested,’ said Aneal.

‘In one of the last notices, they had said, “You’ll pay a penalty, or else you’re going to go to prison.”‘

I’ve been told to leave and I’ve been in fear.

I’ve lived here for more than 40 years and have never had to pay rent in my life.

‘We don’t want any more evictions and I don’t trust the council to do anything about it.

‘Everyone has been trying to sell their property to get the money they need to pay for their rent.

I don and will continue to fight for justice for all tenants.’

The local council has yet to provide details of the number of rent paid to rent-regulated tenants in the village, and how many have been evicted.

The Guardian has asked for further details about the scheme.

The story is featured in The Irish Independent.