Castlebar councillors slammed “irresponsible landlords” in the town who allow their properties to be rented to people who cause anti social behaviour in estates where many residents are “tortured”.
During a meeting at the Castlebar Joint Policing Committee on Monday evening, Superintendent Willie Keaveney said that in certain estates “a lot of grief is caused to residents which is a concern for me and my personnel to deal with such matters.” Supt Keaveney said that gardaí can caution tenants if there are complaints made but it is hard for gardaí to prosecute as incidents occur on private property not in the public domain. However, the superindendent said that residents can bring a case to court under the Noise Pollution Act.
Auctioneer and councillor Frank Durcan said that it is hard to police when certain landlords “don’t care” who they let in to rent a house, with these tenants causing “horrendous behaviour”.
Cllr Noreen Heston said that through her attendance at residents’ association meetings it is alleged that the majority of residents who cause such behaviour — where “neighbours are tortured” — are benefiting from money from the State to pay their rent and that it is the “irresponsible house owners” who do not vet their tenants who are to blame. The councillor said that she has prepared a motion in relation to this which will be before the council’s December meeting.
The Fine Gael councillor said that one way to combat such problems is to have every tenancy in Castlebar registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board — which landlords should already do. The Mayor of Castlebar Cllr Michael Kilcoyne said that in his dealings with the PRTB he found that “they are not interested”, while Cllr Durcan concurred that the PRTB “is a disaster”.
Cllr Kilcoyne said that there should be a change in the law so that the community welfare officer vets future tenants, as at present the determining factor is only based on means testing.
It was proposed that a submission will be prepared for the presentation to the Minister of Social Welfare in relation to the matter.