Woman (80) ordered to vacate rented property and to pay over €27,000 in rent arrears

In separate case RTB found a tenant had suffered as a result of an illegal eviction and ordered the landlord to pay €5,000 in damages

The tenant told the tribunal in July 2023 she was “hoping to have a roof over her head for her 80th birthday".

An 80-year-old woman who was told to vacate the property she was renting for almost 30 years after overholding has been ordered to pay over €27,000 in rent arrears by a Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) tribunal.

The tenant who paid a deposit of €60 for her tenancy in Ballsbridge, Dublin when it began in 1995 had arrears building since, the tribunal heard.

The tenant told the tribunal in July 2023 she was “hoping to have a roof over her head for her 80th birthday” and had a “long history” with the house, in which she lived in a one-bedroom apartment on the top floor for €1,141 per month.

Though not disputing the termination, the tenant expressed difficulty in finding alternative accommodation at the time, and despite seeking help from her local authority and local councillors, had “nowhere to go”.

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The hearing was told the tenant only met one landlord who would accept housing assistance payments (HAP) and she was 12th on his list, adding she was as anxious to move as the landlord was.

The tribunal noted the tenant had not received the supports “commensurate with her age and position” adding it was “not unreasonable” that she had a roof over her head for her 80th birthday.

The tenant asked the tribunal for help in finding a new home, according to the tribunal report which was published this week.

The landlord said there had been rent arrears of €14,000 by the time a notice of termination was issued in December 2021 with a termination date of July 31st the following year.

After the notice was served the tenant, and her daughter who was living with her at the time, reduced their rent payments, with arrears increasing by another €15,000 until the tribunal hearing.

The landlord, who has several properties in Dublin, said he required the dwelling as a base for him to manage his portfolio, and for his children who are of college age.

He said he was not seeking damages for overholding but for the valid notice of termination to be upheld.

On November 22nd 2023, the tenant was ordered by the RTB to vacate the property within 28 days and as the arrears exceed two years rent, ordered to pay €2,282 each month until €27,384 was paid in full.

The landlord was directed to repay the tenant’s deposit of €60 in full on gaining possession of the property.

Similarly, a single mother of three in Santry, Dublin was ordered to pay €18,798 in rent arrears.

The tenant told a tribunal hearing she could not afford to move anywhere else and wished to remain in the property she had lived in since 2010, particularly due to its proximity to a creche.

The tribunal heard that the tenant’s former husband had agreed to continue paying the rent when he left three years ago but failed to do so and the arrears built up.

A representative for the landlord told the tribunal that no payments had been made against the arrears and they were reluctant to enter a plan in which only €400 would be paid each month.

The landlord sought payment of the arrears and for vacant possession of the dwelling, however the notice of termination issued was deemed invalid by the tribunal.

The tenant was ordered to pay the €18,798 in 37 monthly instalments in addition to her monthly rent of €1,922.

Separately, a landlord in Blarney, Co Cork was ordered to pay €5,000 in damages after unlawfully terminating a tenancy and carrying out an illegal eviction.

The tribunal ruled that the landlord illegally forced the tenant to vacate the studio apartment which cost €777 per month in rent and was situated in the basement of the landlord’s home.

The tribunal heard that the tenant’s relationship with his landlord was good until he experienced problems with his earnings.

He was served an invalid notice of termination in September 2022 giving him one month to vacate the property.

On October 13th, the landlord turned off the electricity and wifi while the tenant also claimed he had been collecting rainwater as his water supply had been cut off for six days.

That same day, the landlord’s husband told the tenant they were moving his car and once he left his apartment to check, they refused to allow him back inside, the tribunal heard.

He then walked in his pyjamas and socks for help before ringing gardaí, who on arrival said it was a civil matter.

The tenant’s belongings, including clothes, his child’s toys and food, had been placed on the driveway, he said.

The tenant’s claims that wifi and water were cut off were rejected by the landlord who also claimed he was not wearing pyjamas and that he willingly left the property.

She claimed he was not prevented from returning and that gardaí had attended at her request to ensure things remained peaceful.

The tribunal said the tenant had “suffered” as a result of the illegal eviction and ordered the landlord to pay the damages within 56 days.

Jack White

Jack White

Jack White is a reporter for The Irish Times