The High Court has quashed a Cork District Court order against the landlord who owns two of the student houses near UCC which had been nicknamed ‘Covid Party House’ and ‘Party Central’ last Summer.
The landlord was ordered to take measures to reduce noise levels at the properties. The significance of the order was that any breaches of the order would have been punishable by a fine up to €1,000 and/or a 12-month jail term.
However, Mr Justice Charles Meenan has now quashed that order.
Eamon Murray solicitor for Fachtna O’Reilly had asked Judge Olann Kelleher not to impose the order on Mr O’Reilly and simply to adjourn the case last July with no order to see how things would go. Mr Murray urged the judge to do this in light of steps taken by the landlord to remedy the situation and further plans he had in this regard.
Commenting now on the High Court success, Mr Murray said, “Needless to say, my client was very relieved to have his position vindicated. The position we adopted in the District Court case was that the Residential Tenancy Board was the appropriate environment in which these issues should have been ventilated.
“We are happy that the anomalous situation in which a property owner could find him/herself amenable to a term of imprisonment for breach of an Order similar to the one made in this case, has been overturned.”
Mr Justice Meenan ruled in the High Court in Dublin in a written order, “The court doth grant an order of certiorari quashing the order of Cork District Court dated July 17 2020. It is ordered that the aforesaid order and all records relating thereto be quashed without further order.
“And the court doth grant a declaration that the decision of District Justice Olann Kelleher in District Court proceedings … was ultra vires, irrational and void for certainty, and lacks jurisdiction on its face.”
Mr Murray said during the Cork District Court case last July that Fachtna O’Reilly spoke to the tenants in the so-called ‘party’ houses and gave them a warning letter. The following day he installed a system for logging noise levels at the houses.
He gave the tenants formal written warnings and he installed CCTV outside both properties. He also paid the costs the local residents incurred in bringing their complaint to court.
Judge Olann Kelleher did impose the order on the landlord last July formally requiring him to take the necessary measures to reduce noise levels.
The judge said in July he was conscious of the fact that Mr O’Reilly is 80 and recently widowed and accepted he had done the right thing in the past week but wondered why it had taken until then.
“This thing has been troubling the area for a considerable period of time… I hope this will be the end of it for all parties and that they (residents) will have calm in their homes and everyone will go on and live peacefully and he (the landlord) won’t be getting calls at three o’clock in the morning,” Judge Kelleher said last year.