A Belfast estate agent has suspended a member of staff after a tenant posted a recording of the employee threatening and verbally abusing him.
Property People said it was shocked and horrified to hear comments made by a member of its staff — who has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.
Bill McAtavey, who is understood to live in the rented property in Damascus Street in Belfast’s predominantly student Holylands area, recorded the incident.
It was uploaded to YouTube last week, where the three-minute recording was viewed more than 750 times before it was removed.
It is understood the incident happened on April 25.
The staff member is believed to have let himself into the property. He proceeded to swear repeatedly at the tenant.
The tenant can be heard saying “you have to give us 24 hours”.
The man threatened to knock the “head off” the resident, ordering him to “lose the attitude”.
When the tenant asked him if he was threatening him, the man said: “Yes I f****** am, all right.”
At one stage the tenant asked the man if he is “meant to be kicking my X-Box” and claimed he had broken a lock on his front door.
The man replied: “I have permission to enter the house on the landlord’s behalf. Check your f****** thing if you want.”
In a statement, Property People said: “Following the events of Friday (May 11), when a YouTube video alleging the unprofessional conduct of an unnamed member of our staff in an unidentified property was brought to our attention, we began a formal internal investigation.
“Now complete, we can confirm that these allegations have been found to be true.
“We have identified the staff member and property in question and moved to suspend the member of staff pending a full disciplinary hearing.
“We are shocked and horrified to hear a member of our staff conduct himself in such an unprofessional manner and would like to take this opportunity to unreservedly apologise to those involved.”
The company also said it will be renewing its staff training.
The statement added: “As a business we pride ourselves in the way we deal with all of our clients. We subscribe to the Property Ombudsman’s professional code of conduct and expect all our staff to behave in a professional manner.
“However, in light of this incident we will be reviewing our staff training and development procedures with immediate effect.
“Property People is committed to working professionally, and in partnership with its tenants and landlords, and would like to reiterate that this highly unprofessional incident is in no way representative of how the business conducts itself on a daily basis.”
Speaking to the BBC, Mr McAtavey said he had not believed the incident warranted contacting the police, but he decided to upload the recording to YouTube to highlight the issue of how some students are treated by their landlords.
He added that he has no problem with the company, Property People.
What he said
In the three-minute recording, the man can be heard telling the resident of the rented property: “Listen, I’m representing the f****** landlord. I can come into his house when I want. I have his permission, you f****** s******, all right. Listen, don’t be a cheeky b******, you knew I was f****** down there all right. You’re a wee f****** scumbag, that’s all you are.” He added: “Did you not f****** hear me, you cheeky wee f****** b******. You can f****** get out of this f****** house. That’s my f****** problem.”
The video can be viewed on YouTube here . It contains strong language that some may find offensive.