Limerick landlords who let damp house ordered to give money back

Stock photo.

TWO Limerick landlords were ordered to pay out €900 to each of three tenants of a Hell-house that was riddled with damp, had broken doors, a shower that couldn’t be used, and had just one air fryer for five tenants to cook meals.

And, at a case before the Residential Tenancies Board, adjudicators heard that the landlord had placed numerous air fresheners around the house to try to disguise the damp smell in the property at Ballyvoreen, Pallasgreen.

The five tenants are apprentice electricians, who had to attend courses at in Limerick as part of their training.

Three of the five – Tighe Kiernan, Aaron Neill, and Ethan Mahon – took a case with the RTB  against landlords Pat and Joan Ryan after they refused to return deposit money.

The three stated that they moved in on April 3, 2023, but had to leave on April 6 because conditions in the rented accommodation were so bad.

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The rent was €150 per week for each tenant (roughly €3,000 a month for the entire home) and each paid a deposit of €600. The deposits were retained by the landlord after the tenancy ended.

The renters said that they did not see any photos of the house but the landlord told them that improvement/refurbishment works were taking place, and assured them that these would be complete by the time the tenancy was due to start.

When they arrived, they said the house  was cold and damp, and smelt of dampness. There was no gas boiler, no hot water, and no heating.

A single air fryer was provided to cook meals for five people, with no gas available. Some electrical switches were broken and a number of air fresheners were left around to disguise the smell of damp.

The tenants said that they had to prop a chair against the front door to ensure that it was secured. They also said that they had to throw out some of their clothes because of the dampness.

The tenants said that when they arrived first, they met the landlord and drew his attention to the various problems.

They said he promised them that all the issues would be addressed within a few days; they gave him the benefit of the doubt, but said the works needed were never done.

After the promises were not lived up to, the tenants said that they told the landlords they had no choice but to move out and find alternative accommodation.

They managed to get other accommodation but needed their deposits to secure it.

The landlord said he was sorry they felt the way they did about the dwelling, while advising them that they would not be getting the deposits back because the money was already spent on the house renovations.

In response to questions from the RTB tribunal, the tenants said that there had been no written letting agreement between them and the landlords, just two sheets of paper stating that the rent was payable each Monday, and an acknowledgement that the landlords had received €600 from each of the five.

The renters said they felt that the landlords had put the necessary repairs on the long finger and taken advantage of them.

The first named landlord had asked them for €120 each to cover the few days they were in the house.

They felt that they had been more than fair to the landlords and only called time on the tenancy when they had no other alternative.

The landlords did not attend the hearing, did not send a representative, nor did they make any written submissions.

The tribunal ordered the landlords to return the deposits of €600 each and pay each tenant €300 for having suffered distress, anxiety, and loss.