MLRC has been acting for a family in a case involving disturbing anti-social behaviour and persistent racist abuse. It was only after a very long battle with SDCC that this matter has been finally resolved and it is instructive to look at the way in which the case was resolved and the difficulties that family faced in securing a positive resolution.
The family moved into a property in 2010 and very shortly after began experiencing difficulties with their neighbours. These difficulties persisted and continued to persist up to the present day whereby they experience frequent abuse from a group of local youths and much of this abuse is racially motivated. The types of incidents the family have described involve rocks being thrown at their property and car as frequently as 3-4 times per week, empty beer bottles and eggs being thrown at the property, and frequent attacks on the family’s car such that they are no longer able to secure car insurance and make claims with respect to any damage to the car. Needless to say the abuse and anti-social behaviour suffered by the family is having an enormously detrimental impact on them and they began reporting the instances to the local council back in 2010.
In August 2011 they made an application for transfer to alternative accommodation on the basis of the ongoing anti-social behaviour. The application ran into difficulty however as the family had not provided and did not realise that a letter from the local Garda Superintendent was necessary in order to support the transfer application and the position of the council was that without such a letter, whey would not process the application. At the same time no efforts were being made to address the ongoing anti-social behaviour and that onus was placed entirely on the family to progress this matter which they did by contacting their local T.D.s and Councillors.
The problems persisted and intensified throughout 2012 and the position with the council appeared to be that they did not have sufficient records of the complaints and that the Gardaí had not supported the transfer application. On a later review of the file by our office, it was noted that several of the incidents which the family did report to the Council were not properly recorded and also that the reports to the Gardaí mostly made by via telephone call were also not recorded therefore the matter was not taken with proper seriousness by the Council.
As they were extremely unhappy with the situation, the family ceased making rental payments in early 2013 and built up various arrears. At this stage the Council indicated that they would consider the families transfer application if the arrears were discharged. The family subsequently discharged the arrears and it was only in November 2014 that the Council finally agreed to transfer the family.
MLRC did not become involved in this case until early 2014 and spent a considerable period of time attempting to obtain relevant records in order to substantiate and document the position in relation to the anti-social behaviour. Fortunately a positive decision was made by the Council without the need for a detailed submission from MLRC however our review of the Council’s file indicated that there were continued discrepancies and confusion on their records. The notes indicated that the family had been awarded urgent status but not priority transfer status. It was not clear to us what urgent status meant from the Scheme of Lettings and it was clear that there must be a finding that the family had been awarded priority transfer status in order for them to receive an offer of housing. We therefore assisted the family in highlighting these discrepancies to the Council and insisting that they confirm that the family enjoy priority transfer status and confirm what position they hold on the list.
We are pleased to confirm that the Council subsequently have confirmed that the family do enjoy priority transfer status and are listed at No.5 on the transfer list. While they remain in their current accommodation it appears that matters will be resolved for them in the near future and we very much hope that their situation will improve and they will be relocated very shortly.
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