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High Court overturns Tenancy Tribunal Determination

By August 26, 2023 August 28th, 2023 No Comments

Mr Justice Simon of the High Court has overturned the Tenancy Tribunal’s determination, holding that a tenant in a private residential tenancy was not strictly liable for the behaviour of occupiers of, or visitors to, the dwelling.

Eviction from property

Ms Iyaba held a tenancy with Dublin Simon Community. In November 2021, she was away in England. A minor incident occurred between her son and a neighbouring tenant’s son, both of whom were children. Disagreements arose between the neighbours over the course of the day. The tenant’s older son went to the neighbouring tenant’s home along with some other young people and broke windows in their property. The tenant’s children were, at the time, being cared for by their grandparents.

The matter was investigated and the housing officer determined that the tenant had ‘allowed’ the anti-social behaviour to occur and a notice of termination was issued. This was challenged by way of the Residential Tenancy Board’s statutory adjudication process. The Tenancy Tribunal upheld the eviction of the tenant. Ms Iyaba appealed that determination to the High Court.

High Court appeal

The High Court has a limited role in hearing appeals from the Tenancy Tribunal under the Residential Tenancy Act. These are limited to points of law only.

Delivering judgment in mid-August (Iyaba v Residential Tenancies Board [2023] IEHC 491), Mr Justice Simons held that, in relation to the circumstances where a tenant can be held liable for the behaviour of occupiers and visitors, the Court found for the tenant. The tenant was not successful in a number of other grounds.

The Court stated that the Residential Tenancy Act sets out the circumstances where a tenant can be held liable for the actions of occupiers and visitors. These were limited to circumstances where the tenant had ‘allowed’ the behaviour to occur. In these circumstances, it could not be said that the tenant had allowed the events to unfold as they did whilst she was away. This was especially so where the events occurred over one day. It was not an ongoing issue where it could have been assumed that the tenant was fixed with some knowledge that the events might have occurred. She was successful in having the Tenancy Tribunal decision overturned.

Finally, the Court stated that its provisional view was that the tenant was entitled to her legal costs, although not successful on most points.

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