€30k fine for landlord a ‘result for common decency’

A forum set up to tackle antisocial behaviour in rented houses around Cork’s universities has described a landmark €30,000 fine for a landlord as a “magnificent result for common decency”.

The Cork University Residents Forum last night congratulated the residents of a Cork suburb who took their case to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).

The outcome will give “great heart to residents who have felt powerless to tackle people who terrorise neighbourhoods”, said forum spokesman Barry Keane.

Yesterday, the Irish Examiner reported how two tribunal hearings, held under the auspices of the PRTB, directed that West Cork-based landlord Flor Harrington pay almost €30,000 to 13 residents of a Cork suburb for failing in his duty to control the tenants of two of his properties in the area.

The residents of Bishops-court outlined a catalogue of serious incidents, linked to the tenants of, and visitors to, two of Mr Harrington’s properties in their estate, including:

* Violent incidents and fights outside one house;

* 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.

The tribunal found Mr Harrington was in breach of his duty to the neighbours of his properties, under the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, and he was ordered 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.

Mr Keane, who helped to set up the Cork University Residents Forum to represent residents living near University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology, said it highli-ghted the need for residents affected by similar antisocial behaviour to keep accurate records of incidents.

“We would urge all residents faced with what often can only be described as ‘scumbag’ behaviour to keep a diary of incidents and to report these to the gardaí. This helps to establish a paper trail,” he said.

“Landlords who ‘take the money and to hell with the locals’ will have to learn that these actions will have dramatic consequences.

“While this is great news, it still does not solve the problem of unregistered landlords and discussions will begin in the new year between the Cork Univer-sity Residents Forum and the PRTB on this issue.”

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