Evicted from Cork home for being pregnant; Landlady says the neighbours wouldn’t like the baby crying

Evicted from Cork home for being pregnant; Landlady says the neighbours wouldn’t like the baby crying
Edel Conlon, southern regional manager, Threshold, and Conor Lynch, assistant manager, Threshold, outside the Cork office at South Mall. Picture: Denis Minihane.

A RENTER in Cork was issued with an eviction notice after revealing she was pregnant to her landlady.

The shocking situation was highlighted by the housing charity Threshold, which brought the case to the attention of the Residential Tenancies Board after the expectant mother presented to it in an upset and frightened state.

Threshold assistant manager Conor Lynch said it has dealt with a number of other concerning evictions but that this case was particularly distressing.

“She was six months pregnant when she explained the situation to her landlady,” said Mr Lynch.

“The landlady told her that she would have to leave before the baby arrived. It was very bad practice. Her excuse was that the neighbours in the apartments ‘wouldn’t like the crying’.

“The tenant had waited until late in her pregnancy to tell the landlady because she was afraid of what the reaction might be.”

Conor Lynch, assistant manager, Threshold, outside the Cork office. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Conor Lynch, assistant manager, Threshold, outside the Cork office. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Mr Lynch spoke of how the landlady attempted to intimidate the mum-to-be, resulting in intervention from gardaí.

“There were more incidents where she was going up to the house and behaving very abusively towards the tenant. This woman was from overseas so we were her only support.”

Mr Lynch said the Threshold team knew they had to act fast to help the woman.

“We put in a case for the Residential Tenancies Board for threatened illegal eviction. The landlady was ordered to pay €3,500.”

However, the nightmare didn’t end there.

“The tenant stayed in the house for a number of months after but it continued to be very stressful.

“When the baby was just four days old the landlady was bringing strangers around without notice and showing them around private areas of the house, including the bedrooms.

“The lady then gave an eviction notice stating that a family member would be moving in. At that stage, the tenant couldn’t take anymore and left as soon as she could.”

Threshold’s regional services manager, Edel Conlon, emphasised that the most difficult part for those affected is often the isolation.

Edel Conlon, southern regional manager, Threshold, in the Cork office at South Mall. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Edel Conlon, southern regional manager, Threshold, in the Cork office at South Mall. Picture: Denis Minihane.

“We see a lot of isolation,” Ms Conlon said.

“The amount of people who have no supports and find themselves homeless is astounding. Going through something like that on your own is heartbreaking.

“There is a real threat to anyone in the private rented sector. Basically, there’s no security and it’s affecting everyone.”

Ms Conlon hopes that new regulations will discourage landlords from abusing their powers.

“The RTB now has investigation powers which means it can follow on and start looking at notices of termination that landlords may have issued earlier on in the year,” she said.

“Hopefully, this will encourage landlords to think twice about issuing an invalid notice or pretending to sell. However, in terms of the availability of properties, we still have a long way to go.”

She referenced another recent case they dealt with involving an expectant mother.

“One woman was in a house-share situation,” she said. “In that situation, she was living with the landlady who didn’t want a baby in her home.

“The mother herself didn’t realise she was expecting until late into the pregnancy which made things difficult. That mother ended up going to homeless services with a baby.”

She added that many renters are living in fear of their landlords.

“People are afraid to mention there is something wrong with the property now in case they are evicted,” said Ms Conlon.

“A lot of tenants are at risk of facing rent increases. It’s very sad.”

Threshold was founded in 1978 with an aim to secure a right to housing, particularly for households experiencing poverty and exclusion.

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