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PRTB get conviction against landlord

Friday, May 09 11:58:59

The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) has secured criminal convictions against a landlord who failed to register ten tenancies.

This is despite the landlord receiving a number of Statutory Notices and warning letters instructing him to do so.

On 23 September 2013 the PRTB issued proceedings against John Ryan of Knockaire House, Knocklyon Road, Templeogue, Dublin 16 for failing to register tenancies relating to ten properties at Mount Alton, 2 Mount Tallant Avenue, Terenure, Dublin 6W.

The cases appeared before Judge John O'Neill on six separate occasions. On 2 December 2013 an officer of the PRTB told Eoghan Cole BL, instructed by Eversheds Solicitors, in evidence that the tenancies were notified to the PRTB by Dublin City Council. On review, it appeared that the tenancies had not been registered and so the PRTB sent two notices pursuant to Section 144 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 to Mr Ryan calling on him to comply with the legislation. As Mr Ryan failed to register the tenancies, Eversheds, the PRTB's Solicitors, sent two further warning letters prior to the institution of proceedings, thereby affording Mr Ryan further opportunities to register the tenancies, of which he did not avail. Mr Ryan did not engage with the PRTB and failed to attend Court for the hearing.

Judge John O'Neill affirmed the PRTB's authority to require landlords to register their tenancies with the PRTB. Mr Ryan was convicted of ten offences contrary to Section 144(3) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. The Court was informed that Mr Ryan had two previous convictions for similar offences and as a result Judge John O'Neill issued a bench warrant for Mr Ryan's arrest. The bench warrant was executed by an Garda Siochana and Mr Ryan was brought before Judge John O'Neill on 6 January 2013 and admitted to bail. On being advised that the PRTB's further investigations had disclosed that Mr. Ryan appeared to be non-compliant in respect of dozens of other tenancies, the Court afforded Mr Ryan three weeks to regularise his affairs with the PRTB. The cases appeared before Judge John O'Neill on three further occasions to review progress in this regard.

On 1 May 2014, Eoghan Cole BL, on behalf of the PRTB, indicated to the Court that Mr Ryan had registered all ten tenancies that were the subject of the proceedings along with a large number of other tenancies. Mr Ryan has now registered over one hundred tenancies resulting in registration fees totalling E16,041.00 having been paid by him to the PRTB.

Judge O'Neill imposed a prison sentence of three months, but suspended it for twelve months on the condition that Mr Ryan, on his own bond of E100, keep the peace and be of good behaviour. It was clearly indicated to Mr Ryan that if he breaks the bond, he will serve the three month term of imprisonment imposed. Costs were also awarded to the PRTB.

Judge John O'Neill has previously remarked that the cost of registering a tenancy is 'comparatively nominal' relative to the potential penalties for non-compliance.