A landlord who is fighting for the eviction of a large family from his house in Longford will not be demanding the €2,330 owed in rent because he “just wants them out”, the District Court has heard.
Two of the family’s 16 children appeared before Granard District Court on Friday afternoon, with no appearance from a third because he is currently in the custody of Oberstown Children’s Detention Centre.
The two girls, who faced three new charges and two new charges, respectively, last week have already been charged with a long litany of shoplifting offences with gardaí previously telling the court that they believe the children are encouraged to shoplift by their parents.
The new charges facing the girls on Friday are from 2020, with Judge Seamus Hughes warning both that he would be taking the matter very seriously if any new charges crop up from January 1, 2021, onwards.
“I don’t want to see any new charge picked up, even if it’s a pack of chicken burgers or a bag of potatoes,” he told one of the girls.
“I’m going to introduce you to the probation services today,” he added, adjourning her case to June 15 and ordering a probation report for that date.
The second girl has been monitored to ensure she has gone to school with gardaí confirming that since the school returned on March 15, she had attended three out of four days.
“I want no more days of school missed,” said Judge Hughes to the girl. “Looking at the probation report, she doesn’t want to attend school and dislikes same and is unable to say why. She’s very guarded in her answers to the probation officer. She’s very guarded with me too.”
Judge Hughes noted one “serious theft” among the charges before the court, which was €88 for four duvet covers.
“I know what’s going on and I won’t tolerate it. Don’t come to the notice of the gardaí and attend every day at school,” he said, adjourning the second girl’s case to June 15 next.
The large family has been living in rented accommodation in a Longford estate and the court has heard that a notice of termination was served on them in recent weeks.
“Their tenancy started in June 2018 and the house is in bad condition at the moment. There’s also an issue with anti-social behaviour and it’s causing serious issues for the residents,” said solicitor for the landlord, Ms Carol Daly.
“There’s rubbish at the back of the house and it’s being thrown over walls,” she added.
The father of the family, who cannot be named due to the age of the children before the court, explained that Longford County Council had been in touch and said that they won’t rehome the family unless they were homeless.
“I understand the residential tenancies board has made an order that no evictions can be carried out. But they want you evicted from the house. Will you go or will the court have to make you go?” said Judge Hughes, addressing the man.
Ms Daly explained that there are significant rent arrears of €2,330 but “my client isn’t even looking for rent - he just wants the house back”.
A termination order was served on the family on March 14, 2021, giving the respondent and all persons in the property 14 days to leave and to pay the rent arrears.
“We’re very sorry, Judge, but the ceilings came down on top of us in my house,” said the tenant.
“I’m not interested in that,” said Judge Hughes, adding that all he was interested to know was whether or not he could grant the order.
Solicitor for the defence, Mr John Quin said that during the pandemic, no order of ejectment should be made but Ms Daly noted that the termination order was originally made in June 2019.
The landlord and his daughter, who attended court on Friday, told Judge Hughes that they were getting phone calls from the neighbours about serious anti-social behaviour from the family.
“We just want the house back. We’re getting phone calls about them abusing people and harassing the neighbours. The house is in a terrible state and the residents feel unsafe. These people are vandalising their houses and their property,” they said.
Judge Hughes adjourned the case to April 16 for hearing, commenting that “this family are in dire condition”.