Lockdown parties: Residents near UCC pledge complaint to PRTB

Residents picketed landlord’s home after they tried to get him to stop students carousing

“Nothing has changed. A joint letter last week from the HSE, Cork City Council and the gardaí to landlords has made no difference as the Covid-19 lockdown house parties have continued.” Stock photograph: Getty

“Nothing has changed. A joint letter last week from the HSE, Cork City Council and the gardaí to landlords has made no difference as the Covid-19 lockdown house parties have continued.” Stock photograph: Getty

 

Residents living near University College Cork have pledged to bring their grievances over students in rented houses holding parties in breach of Covid-19 regulations to the Private Residential Tenancies Board.

Catherine Clancy of the Magazine Road and Surrounding Areas Residents Association said they will be making a complaint over the failure of landlords in the area to tackle the issue of such house parties.

“We just can’t take this any more and our patience has run out,” she said, claiming many landlords in the area are taking no responsibility for the “hurt and damage” student tenants can cause.

“There are families, elderly residents, children living in the area, and the people having house parties don’t care and neither do many of the landlords,” said Ms Clancy, a former lord mayor of Cork.

Ms Clancy confirmed that on Friday, residents had picketed the home of one landlord after they attempted to contact him to get him to stop students having parties in a number of properties he owns around UCC.

“Nothing has changed. A joint letter last week from the HSE, Cork City Council and the gardaí to landlords has made no difference as the Covid-19 lockdown house parties have continued,” she said.

“The issues in our area over the last few weeks during the Covid-19 lockdown have highlighted the lack of legalisation regarding the management of rented property and standards in relation to this.”

Pointing out responsibilities

Last week, An Garda Síochána, the HSE and Cork City Council wrote to some 40 landlords who own 200 properties around UCC, pointing out their responsibilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Anne Sheehan, specialist in Public Health Medicine at HSE South, Garda Chief Supt Barry McPolin and Cork City Council chief executive Ann Doherty stressed to landlords how important it was that their tenants complied with all guidelines.

“As you may be aware from extensive media reporting, the residents in the greater College Road, Magazine Road and Glasheen Road area have raised legitimate concerns over the ongoing house parties by tenants of some of the rented properties within this area,” they wrote.

“Over the last two weeks or so, the residents have endured ongoing parties, primarily in rented accommodation, apparently occupied by students and young people, well into the early hours of the morning.”

The Garda, HSE and Cork City Council pointed out in the letter that gardaí have visited many of the rented properties concerned and witnessed up to 30 people congregating in houses, in breach of the Covid-19 guidelines.

While the 2km limit and later 5km limit on travel have been lifted, there were still limits on the numbers attending such gatherings, with outdoor groupings limited to 15 people and indoor meetings limited to six.

‘Obvious consequences’

“The residents are rightly concerned that these parties may aid the spread of the Covid-19 disease with obvious consequences for the elderly/vulnerable residents of the area,” wrote Dr Sheehan, Chief Supt McPolin and Ms Doherty.

“You will appreciate the impact of non-compliance of the guidelines by your tenants, which may include contributing to and/or increasing the spread of the disease, a disease which the country has succeeded in suppressing thus far.

“It must be stressed to the tenants that these activities can directly endanger the health of vulnerable persons either in the community or in their own or their friends’ immediate families.

“None of us wants to be responsible for contributing in any way to the spread of the virus leading to serious illness or death,” wrote the three before appealing to landlords to co-operate with the statutory agencies.