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Just after their mother died, two brothers were told by their landlord they had to vacate the property

This was one such case faced by housing charity Threshold this year.
Dec 25th 2018, 4:00 PM 49,790 31

TWO YOUNG MEN who’d been living in their rented home for three years were told by their landlord they had to vacate the property just after their mother died, but managed to stay after successfully appealing their case with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

It is one case handled by housing charity Threshold this year, who said they still receive calls from concerned tenants during Christmas time. 

Over the festive period, the housing charity provides an emergency on-call service daily between 10am and 4pm.

Last year, it received 35 calls from topics ranging from tenants given invalid notice to vacate a property to rent arrears – and even an illegal eviction. 

Its CEO John-Mark McCafferty told TheJournal.ie that it’s been a challenging year for Threshold as the housing crisis “continues to blight our country”. 

He said: “Every day our frontline services are constantly dealing with the serious failings of the private rental sector. We work with an ever increasing number of people who are ‘flat broke’, unable to afford to rent or save for a deposit and ineligible for public housing, even if this was available.”

Notice to vacate

The charity advocated on behalf of the tenants in the case of the 19-year-old and 21-year-old brothers whose mother died just after Easter this year.

They’d been living in a rented home with their mother and aunt for the previous three years. 

After the death of their mother, the men remained at the property along with their aunt and another tenant who had moved in at the beginning of 2018.

Their rent – of €1,500 a month – was kept up to date but the landlord issued notice that they had no right to have the other tenant at the property and they all must vacate it.

The landlord said it was their intention to rent the property to a family member.

Threshold referred the case to the RTB to challenge the notice to quit. It argued that the brothers were the successor tenants to their mother’s tenancy and the landlord had no right to ask them to vacate the property. 

At the hearing, it was agreed that they are indeed the successor tenants and could remain in the property.

Having lost their mother earlier in the year, the young men are least secure that they can remain in the property and not be at risk of homelessness this Christmas time.

McCafferty said this was an example of a case that required “a more intensive set of supports due to the nature and depth of their housing crisis”.

Navigating bureaucracy can be challenging at the best of times; but when trying to deal with a personal trauma simultaneously, finding a way forward can be near impossible.

Spotted on Daft.ie

In another case, a Galway based family were served notice that the landlord claimed he wanted to move back in the house. 

They couldn’t find anywhere to live and had to access emergency housing services. After three months, they found a place 20 miles from where they’d lived. 

But when they saw that their former home had been advertised on Daft.ie, the father contacted Threshold.

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At the RTB hearing, an agreement was reached.

Although Threshold said a substantial amount could have been awarded to the family for the breach of the termination procedure, they family opted to move back into their home.

Re-advertised

In a similar case, a married couple were told by their landlord that the property was being sold.

The property was subsequently re-advertised three weeks later. The landlord withheld their €1,300 deposit, as well as 16 days of overpaid rent which they’d been promised when they left the property. 

The landlord refused to reimburse them, citing damage above normal “wear and tear”. This included stains on the carpet and ceiling, toys left in the shed and a broken fire alarm.

At a hearing before the RTB, an adjudicator found in the couple’s favour and the landlord was forced to return a sum of €1,500 to them.

McCafferty added: “We are hopeful that new measures proposed as part of The Residential Tenancies Act will go some way to affording greater protections to tenants however we believe laws to protect tenants should be available to all and we want to see changes to rent pressure zone arrangements so that rents can be moderated across the country to all tenants.”

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Sean Murray

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