Tenant who sub-let flat loses bid to challenge eviction ruling

John Keon ordered to pay nearly €11,000 in rent arrears and damages

KBC Bank appointed a receiver over the flat where John Keon was living. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

KBC Bank appointed a receiver over the flat where John Keon was living. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A tenant who sub-let his flat before it was taken over by a receiver has lost his bid to pursue a challenge to a finding he must leave.

He was also ordered to pay nearly €11,000 in rent arrears and damages.

John Keon, who was a tenant of the flat at Dún na Carraige, Salthill, Co Galway, is not entitled to an extension of time to challenge a residential tenancy tribunal’s finding he should leave and pay the money, the Court of Appeal ruled.

Mr Keon rented the flat for €400 per month in June 2012.

In October that year, KBC Bank (formerly IIB Homeloans) appointed a receiver over the flat, which was his landlord’s security on a mortgage taken out for the flat in 2006.

The receiver, Mark Gibbs, told Mr Keon to pay the rent directly to him.

While Mr Keon did so for three months from November 2012 to February 2013, no further rent was paid after that.

In March 2013, the receiver informed Mr Keon he intended to sell the premises and required vacant possession.

Mr Keon said the property had been sub-let to some university students and asked that they be allowed to remain until they had finished their examinations in May.

Possession

The receiver said Mr Keon did not deliver possession in May as promised.

After the receiver applied to the Residential Tenancies Board (formerly the PRTB) in January 2014 seeking to terminate the lease, Mr Keon challenged the validity of the receiver’s appointment.

The matter went through the tenancies board process and in June 2015, a PRTB tribunal ordered Mr Keon to give up vacant possession, and pay €9,992 in rent arrears along with €1,000 damages.

Mr Keon was entitled to appeal the decision on a point of law to the High Court but had to do so within 21 days.

He did not meet that deadline but, having obtained new solicitors to represent him, an application was made seeking to have time extended so he could bring the challenge.

After the High Court refused to extend time, he appealed.

In his decision on behalf of a three-judge Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said the High Court has jurisdiction to extend time but this was not a case where that jurisdiction should be exercised.

Before time could be extended, it was necessary for Mr Keon to show he had arguable grounds, the judge said. Mr Keon could not advance grounds beyond “generalised complaints” as to the validity of the receiver’s appointment and about the procedures following by the PRTB tribunal, the judge said.

He dismissed the appeal.