19 Aug 2022

‘Unlawful occupier’ in Thurles house told to leave within three months

Court: Thurles couple ordered to leave Council property

‘Unlawful occupier’ in Thurles house told to leave within three months

Thurles District Court

A man has been ordered by Thurles District Court to vacate the property he is living in without permission within three months.

Judge Elizabeth MacGrath has ruled that Thomas McCarthy of 25 Oakfield Drive, Thurles, had jumped the housing waiting list by continuing to live in the premises after the legal tenant, his brother Anthony, had left.

Thomas McCarthy brought in his partner to live with him. They defied a local authority direction to leave the premises, said Roisín Hayes, who was the then Tenant Liaison Officer. Judge MacGrath said it would make a “laughing stock” of the housing waiting list if Mr McCarthy were allowed to continue to live there.

Ms Roisín Hayes said she became aware that the then official tenant, Anthony McCarthy, Thomas’ brother, had left that address, but Thomas McCarthy had continued to live there without permission in December 2021. As it was no longer Anthony McCarthy’s principal address, Thomas McCarthy could no longer live there.

Ms Hayes wrote to the tenant explaining that as part of the tenancy agreement, he was not allowed to bring someone else into the house.

Anthony McCarthy responded that it was his brother, Thomas, who was staying there at the time.
On December 8, Anthony McCarthy said he was unable to get his brother to vacate the house.
On January 13 this year, Ms Hayes visited the address and informed Thomas McCarthy and his partner that he was not to be in that property.

“He said he was not willing to vacate the property,” said Ms Hayes, who told the couple they were “unlawful occupiers”. The couple were served notice to leave, but “they said they had no intention of leaving the property”. Legal proceedings were issued but “they are still there in that house,” added Ms Hayes.

There are 196 people on the housing waiting list in Thurles. “They have jumped that waiting list,” said a solicitor for the council.
Thomas McCarthy said he had been in the house since January 2019 and moved in with his brother. He was paying his brother rent every week, and “he said it was in the rent book”.
When his brother moved out, he discovered that he was not in the rent book. “I was trying to get free legal aid but I kept getting denied,” said Mr McCarthy. “They say I’m not entitled to it. I don’t know where to go.”

Mr McCarthy said he did not understand “all the forms” involved in his brother’s tenancy agreement and didn’t know he was not on the lease.

A solicitor for Tipperary County Council put it to Mr McCarthy that he cannot “just take over and move into this house”. Mr McCarthy is now on the council waiting list.
Judge MacGrath said it was “very clear” that there was no legal basis for Mr McCarthy to occupy the house.

“Whatever agreement you thought you had with your brother, does not translate into keeping the house,” she told Mr McCarthy. “The court’s hands are tied under the Act.” If it was permitted for someone to move in and take over properties like this, “it would make a laughing stock of any housing waiting list”.

Judge MacGrath granted the order of repossession but said Mr McCarthy could stay there for another three months to allow him put his affairs in order and for him to “legitimately move your application on the county council housing waiting list”.

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