A three-person Private Residential Tenancies Board tribunal this week heard a case between Westport based auctioneer Olivia Needham and a former tenant, Joseph Sweeney from Castlebar. After a day of evidence and questioning the tribunal, chaired by John Tiernan, closed to consider their findings. Mr Sweeney was the appellant in the case against Ms Needham in relation to a number of incidents that occurred at a property he had rented from her at No 15 The Post-box, Knockthomas.
In the course of the tribunal Mr Sweeney raised a number of issues including a key for a post-box, a faulty shower, a potential unauthorised entry into the property by a landlord or an agent of hers, and a broken window on a door. Ms Needham rejected the claims made by Mr Sweeney throughout the tribunal. The major claim made by Mr Sweeney related to the breaking of a window on the front door of the flat, which he claimed was done by the landlord’s husband after an altercation following a party the previous night.
Ms Needham claimed that the window was broken by Mr Sweeney due to the force with which he slammed the door shut. Mr Sweeney presented a number of witness to the tribunal, including an engineer, to give evidence about how the window was probably broken. The engineer in his evidence did admit that he was basing his report on photographic evidence only as he was not able to inspect the door. He also produced a witness who claimed to have heard a bang and smash, before he saw a man run from the flat, throw a bar into a car, and drive away. Mr Sweeney also told the tribunal that on the evening in question he found a note well inside the door of the flat to call Ms Needham in relation to the previous night’s incident, to which the gardaí had to be called. Mr Sweeney told the tribunal the only way that the note could have got there was if someone had come inside the flat, while Ms Needham claimed that the note was jammed in the door outside by her husband as she had failed to reach him by telephone on a number of occasions. Ms Needham produced only one witness besides herself, and this witness gave evidence of a number of instances of parties and loud noise coming from the flat which caused a major disturbance to local residents.
The tribunal will make their decision known in the near future.