A landlord with property in Cork’s university precinct has been summoned to appear in court on Friday on foot of noise complaints.
Long-term residents in estates near University College Cork (UCC) have made specific complaints under the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 in relation to noise disturbance from two properties, both of which are owned by the landlord.
The act specifies that such a case can be taken at district court level when the noise is so loud, so continuous, so repeated or of such duration or pitch, and which occurs at such times, “as to give reasonable cause for annoyance”.
One house is just south of UCC’s main campus on College Road - the other is immediately east of the main campus.
It’s understood that residents have been dealing with anti-social behaviour at one of the properties since 2007 but that the noise complaints at the centre of this legal action are more recent.
The residents’ decision to trigger legal action was made during the Covid-19 lockdown after a spate of house parties occurred in a number of rented properties close to UCC.
Residents from the Magazine Road and surrounding areas staged vigils on the streets in an effort to reclaim their community amid fears that the large gatherings of young people - up to 50 people have gathered for some of the parties in some properties - could trigger a cluster of Covid-19 cases.
Gardaí have called repeatedly to several rented properties in the area in recent weeks.
Last month, they launched an investigation after two men confronted and verbally threatened the occupants of a rented property on Glasheen Road where there were clear signs of a party having taken place on the premises.
The presidents of UCC and Cork Institute of Technology then wrote to all students reminding them of their responsibilities during the lockdown, and it was followed by a letter to landlords in the area, signed by the Chief Superintendent in the division, a public health expert from the HSE and the CEO of Cork City Council, reminding them of their responsibilities to their tenants, and the wider community.
Residents said there have been some improvements since the issue came to a head over the June Bank holiday weekend, including the eviction of a number of tenants from one specific rented property on Tuesday.
But they said parties are continuing in a number of other properties and they said some landlords just aren’t not doing enough to tackle the issue.
Gardaí were called to one rented property near UCC three times on Saturday night and residents reported parties three nights in a row in another property over the weekend.
Residents spokesperson Catherine Clancy said the two people who have made the complaints in this legal action are taking a brave step but have the full support of the entire community.
“What’s happening to us is wrong. We believe we have a community worth fighting for and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” she said.
Aside from this legal case, the residents are also considering taking cases to the Residential Tenancies Board.