Man evicted from elderly housing complex for having overnight guests and for staying up late playing video games
– 3h ago
A tenant who stayed up late playing video games was evicted from an elderly housing complex after breaching rules regarding overnight visitors.
The landlord company, Douglas Old Folks Housing Association, argued that the rule was “not draconian” and was determined by its insurance policy.
The directors of the company initially thought the tenant was too young to move into the accommodation, where the average age of its residents is 75.
But it agreed to rent to the tenant after being contacted by St Vincent de Paul and a local councillor, who was concerned about the “appalling conditions” he was previously living in.
Liam Moloney, manager of the company, gave evidence to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) that the squalid conditions of the tenant’s previous accommodation and the need for him to have somewhere for his children to visit him outweighed the consideration that he was relatively young when compared to the other residents.
In October 2019, spaces became available at Lion House in Douglas, Co Cork, and the landlord approached the tenant to offer him a place in the complex for €346 per month. However, he was advised that while daytime visiting is allowed, overnight stays are not.
There are 18 units in the complex, including 10 single occupancy apartments. Each of the apartments contain a kitchen, bathroom, living area and bedroom.
Mr Moloney told the RTB tribunal that the tenant started to invite guests over on a regular basis and he played computer games late into the night, which disturbed his elderly neighbours.
In August 2020, the landlord issued a warning letter regarding the breach of rules.
A further warning letter was given in March 2021. Following the discovery of guests in the house a few months later, the landlord then decided to serve an eviction notice.
Mr Moloney claimed that on one occasion, a visitor stayed for over 14 days.
Insurance broker Frank Murphy gave evidence that insurance cover for the complex is sought from the same market as nursing homes.
He said the risk is determined by multiple factors and there are strict terms and conditions for which the policy is underwritten. He added the failure to adhere to the terms and conditions would have jeopardised the renewal of the existing insurance policy.
David Jones from housing charity Threshold, who was representing the tenant, agreed that he did have guests who would “stay on long weekends” but said it did not constitute anti-social behaviour.
He said the landlord’s approach was “akin to a storm in a teacup” and argued that the tenant did not deserve to be evicted.
Harry McCullagh, the legal representative for the landlord, said that the provision regarding overnight guests was in place because it is a secure accommodation for vulnerable and elderly people.
He described the situation as “very serious” because the company risked having its insurance policy repudiated over one resident. He said it was “an insult” to the landlord, considering the effort made to accommodate the tenant.
The RTB ruled that the notice of termination served was valid, and ordered the tenant to vacate the property within 28 days.
In explaining its decision, the RTB said the landlord is entitled to set the rules to fulfil the role it has of housing vulnerable, elderly adults in a secure setting.
It found that the rule regarding overnight guests gives them the means to live independently which may not occur outside of the controlled setting.