Landlord who hung ‘no rent paid’ sign on door is fined
A landlord who barricaded the front door of a tenant's home with a steel barrier and hung a sign on it declaring ‘No rent paid' has been fined after it was claimed his actions amounted to harassment.
The woman tenant rented the house for eight years at Bellisk Drive in Cushendall, but fled the property after the incident, the Magistrate’s Departmental Court in Coleraine heard.
The landlord pleaded guilty to a charge of causing her to give up occupation by acts calculated to interfere with the peace or comfort of the tenant.
The court heard the 36-year-old landlord put the barrier and sign in place to “let neighbours see” the tenant was behind in her rent.
A prosecutor told the court the actions amounted to harassment of the tenant when the landlord — who also lives in Cushendall — put up the barrier on the door.
The court heard the landlord claimed that the tenant owed money, while she said it would be paid when she received funds she was expecting.
Councils in Northern Ireland have responsibility for such rent cases. Moyle District Council investigated the case, and the landlord confirmed he put the barrier in place.
He told a council official: “I had to do something to get money out of (the woman) and let neighbours see she is the type of person I could not get rent out of.”
A defence solicitor told the court it was a case of “hands-up time” for his client. He said the landlord regretted what he did and accepted it was “totally out of order”.
The lawyer said his client owed a mortgage on property which he was using as his “pension plan”.
He added his client was self-employed, worked in a family firm and was “mortified” by his actions which were “wholly disproportionate”.
District Judge Richard Wilson told the landlord he had sympathy for people who feel they are entitled to rent “but you went beyond what was appropriate”.
The landlord was fined £200 and also had to pay costs of £132.
After the case, a Moyle District Council spokeswoman said: “We are pleased at the conviction as it lets landlords see that they cannot harass tenants in this way.”