The award, one of the highest of its kind by the Private Residential Tenancies Board, has serious implications for landlords.
It has been hailed as a significant victory for the residents of Lower Bishopscourt in Cork’s western suburbs. Lord Mayor John Buttimer (FG), who supported the residents, described it as a “gamechanger”.
“The level of this award sends out a strong message to absentee landlords that they must be responsible for the behaviour of their tenants,” said Mr Buttimer.
“It is also a testament to the persistence of the residents, who felt the severity of the initial fines wasn’t reflective of the seriousness of the situation.”
A group of 13 residents took two cases to the PRTB earlier this year in relation to antisocial behaviour linked to the tenants of two properties in Bishopscourt Drive, owned by West Cork-based landlord Flor Harrington. They outlined a catalogue of incidents, including:
* Violent incidents and fights outside one of the houses;
* Out-of-control parties, excessive noise, and disturbance;
* Drinking alcohol and urinating in public by tenants, or by people connected to them;
* Rubbish, including used nappies, being thrown into neighbouring gardens;
* Cars being driven recklessly and noisily at night in the area, and in the garden of one of the houses;
* One incident where gardaí, who were arresting an individual at one of the addresses, had to use pepper spray after they were attacked by a group of women who were in the house.
The residents said the behaviour went on for several years, and that they were “living in fear” and “felt intimidated”. They said they raised their concerns with Mr Harrington, who lives in Ardgroom, on the Beara peninsula, several times, without substantive or meaningful response.
Mr Harrington’s agent, Dylan Cullen, accepted some antisocial behaviour was attributed to one of the properties, but disputed the extent, seriousness, persistent nature, and intensity of the alleged behaviour.
However, the tribunal found in favour of the residents, and said Mr Harrington was in breach of his duty to the neighbours of his properties. It ordered him to pay €1,000 to each of the 13 residents in relation to one complaint, and €1,250 to each resident in relation to the second complaint — a combined damages bill of €29,250.
“We are very pleased to finally get a comprehensive ruling from the PRTB in respect of the behaviour of the landlord, Mr Harrington,” said a residents’ spokesman.
“The amount of the award is an attempt to recognise the conduct of Mr Harrington in his choice of some of his tenants, and his failure to address their unsocial behaviour over the last 10 years.”
Mr Harrington declined to comment.
News: An end to residents’ lengthy nightmare