A REPRESENTATIVE of the Residential Tenancies Board and a barrister acting on their behalf apologised to a West Cork solicitor and her client for the manner in which it handled an appeal.
Barrister, Eoghan Cole, addressed Judge James McNulty at Skibbereen District Court and said he wished to apologise to Colette McCarthy of Wolfe & Company, and her client, Timothy Hadley of Moneyvolihane, Skibbereen, for the failure of the board, and its agents, to respond appropriately to Ms McCarthy’s request for information and assistance in this matter.
The barrister also acknowledged that the Residential Tenancies Board – an organisation that resolves disputes between landlords, tenants and third parties – fell short of the standards expected.
The issue came before the district court on two previous occasions. On the first occasion, Ms McCarthy said the receiver, who was appointed by the Bank of Scotland, served a termination notice on the tenants and the tenants referred it to the RTB.
The RTB adjudicated on it and issued an adjudication report with a right of appeal for either side. Ms McCarthy’s tenants appealed, but despite lodging the €85 fee, and the paper work, they never heard anything back from the RTB in relation to their appeal.
A determination order was issued from the RTB on the basis that no appeal was lodged by either side and an application was made to the court to enforce a determination order, which meant the tenants would have to vacate the premises. On that occasion, Ms McCarthy sought clarification from the RTB in relation to what happened to the appeal and why the determination order was issued but neither she nor her clients heard back from the RTB.
Judge McNulty also requested clarification and adjourned the case to allow the RTB time to produce the CEO or someone who could adequately explain what had happened.
When the case was called on July 9th a solicitor acting for the RTB was unable to explain what went wrong and the judge adjourned the matter for two weeks.
He told the solicitor: ‘You are not competent to explain the failure. Somebody in a senior position should explain what they are doing.’ But the solicitor for the RTB said: ‘Even a senior person cannot explain – we are without an ability to explain it.’
The judge told the solicitor he wanted to ‘hear a witness, not a spokesperson.’ And he added: ‘If the appeal was not properly dealt with maybe we should rewind the clock. I am not going to preside over a miscarriage of justice.’
At the recent sitting, the court was told that a valid appeal was not received within the deadline, but Rosalind Carroll, the director of the RTB, gave sworn evidence that a full review has been instigated.
The matter is to be reviewed at the October 8th sitting of Skibbereen District Court.