arrears | 

Dublin journalist ordered to vacate home over nearly €50,000 in unpaid rent

Roman Shortall “continually” failed to pay rent for the Dublin house and did not appear in court for an action brought by the landlord

Roman Shortall. Picture: Mark Condren

Andrew Phelan and Seoirse

A journalist has been ordered by a court to vacate his rented home after building up nearly €50,000 in arrears.

Roman Shortall “continually” failed to pay rent for the Dublin house and did not appear in court for an action brought by the landlord.

Judge Marie Quirke ordered Mr Shortall and his wife to vacate the property within seven days and pay the €49,632 in arrears.

The action against Mr Shortall, who is a co-founder of The Ditch news website, was brought by landlords Ravensburg, an unlimited company.

Neither Mr Shortall nor his wife were present in court last week but the case went ahead in their absence before Judge Marie Quirke at Dublin District Court.

The couple had rented the house at Drury Mills, Saggart, Co Dublin, since February 2019, Ravensburg's barrister, Jennifer Purcell BL, told Judge Quirke.

The rent due was €2,750 per month, she said.

After the respondents fell into significant arrears, a notice of termination of their tenancy was served on June 25, 2021. An application was made to the Residential Tenancies Board's dispute resolution services.

It was deemed an appropriate matter to proceed by adjudication and a hearing took place in December that year. The barrister said there was no appearance at that hearing by the respondents who said they were ill.

However, it was a remotely-held hearing and they were given notice, she said.

Last May, the RTB made a determination order that the notice of termination was valid, and that Mr Shortall and his wife were to vacate the property and pay the arrears due at that stage.

The adjudicator's report was forwarded to the applicant and tenant and it was stated that the determination could be appealed, but no appeal was made, the barrister said.

The respondents continually failed to pay monthly rent and by July last year that had built up to €33,818, she said.

Since then, the amount due had increased to €49,632.

The respondents failed or refused to comply with the determination order or vacate the dwelling, or pay rent or arrears, causing loss to the applicant, the barrister said.

Judge Quirke said the summons had been served and the respondents had been called in court and did not appear.

She ordered them to vacate the premises within seven days and pay the arrears sought.

In response to queries, Mr Shortall told the Irish Independent: “Over the course of my long-term tenancy a dispute arose with my landlord, an unlimited company, over its repeated failures to address serious issues with conditions in the house.

"As a result of this dispute I withheld a percentage of the rent.”

He said the District Court ruling “put an end to that dispute” and while he was “disappointed" he said: “I will of course comply with the decision to vacate and have secured a new home for my family.”

The Ditch website last week revealed that Fine Gael junior minister Damien English failed to declare ownership of a property when applying for planning permission for another home.

Mr English announced his resignation as a minister following the story.

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