Woman left terrified as ‘heavy’ opens her front door, enters her home and asks for arrears in rent to be paid
Alan Nulty received a three-year suspended sentence at Wexford Circuit Court in January after making threats to a man, including that he would “get someone to smash your head with a hammer” while attempting to collect €4,000 in rent arrears.
However, it seems Nulty is up to his old tricks again after he and two other men arrived unannounced at a woman’s home in Navan last month.
It’s understood Nulty entered the premises while the others remained outside the front door.
The woman was too scared to speak about the incident but a close family friend told the Sunday World, “Nulty is a big guy so he didn’t have to be physically intimidating, his presence alone was enough to terrify the woman especially as she had her kids in the house with her.
“He didn’t exactly threaten her but told her they were there at her landlord’s request to collect rent arrears, she did explain that while she had fallen around a year behind in her rent there were genuine personal reasons for this, but he didn’t appear to listen and told her that unless it was sorted she would receive another visit.
“The woman was absolutely petrified and is still very shaken up over the whole thing but after speaking to a local councillor she summoned up the courage to make an official complaint to the guards.
“Local gardaí have stepped up drive-by patrols on the house,” the source added.
Mr Nulty denies that he was involved in the incident or that he continues to be associated with Viper Debt Recovery.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act it is illegal for a landlord or their agents to enter the property without the tenant’s permission or arrive unannounced at the property unless there is an emergency situation such as a fire or flood.
Entry without permission is a breach of the landlord’s obligations and if it happens repeatedly the tenant can refer a dispute against the landlord to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).
Pat Nelis, a long-term advocate for those involved in rent disputes, said: “If a tenant falls behind in rent payments they can be given a 28-day notice of termination which they are entitled to challenge.
“If the RTB finds in the landlord’s favour then they still have to go to the district court for a termination order.
“What certainly cannot happen is that the landlord sends in the heavies straight away, and that is what is happening here. It has been a fairly prevalent thing in Dublin for a while and is now being done country wide and it is illegal full-stop, but quite often tenants are too scared of the heavies to report it.”
Navan-based Independent councillor Alan Lawes said: “From speaking to the woman, while Nulty didn’t openly threaten her, he didn’t have to as she was terrified at being on her own in the house with a complete stranger who just opened the front door and walked in. He made it clear that she would be paid a return visit if she didn’t sort out the arrears.
“I would be aware through your paper what happened in Wexford and showed a copy of your coverage of that case to the lady from which she identified Nulty as the man who came uninvited into her house, sat down on her sofa and began talking to her about her rent arrears.
‘What really amazes and worries me is that a landlord would resort to this way of doing things, it is just plain wrong.”
In January, Wexford Circuit Court heard that Nulty had told Nigel Doolin, a tenant in a rented property in Cromwellsfort, that he would ‘have his throat slit while he walked his dog’ if he didn’t come up with €4,000 in rent arrears.
Alan Nulty uttered the threat, and another that he would “get someone to smash your head with a hammer”.
Garda Emer O’Reilly told the court that on arriving at the property, she spoke to landlord David Allen, who claimed that he was owed €4,000 in rent by his tenant, Nigel Doolin. He also said that he had called in the debt recovery agency.
The accused, Alan Nulty, was present too and he stated that he was there to recover property to cover the debt.
The garda heard a recording of a man with a Dublin accent, who turned out to be the accused.
The recording was made through the door of the house by Doolin.
As well as the hammer threat, the recording also picked up a warning that the tenant would have his throat slit while he was out walking his dog.
The judge described the incident at Cromwellsfort as an insidious crime with disturbing aspects to it and he decided to take a couple of days to formulate his decision.
When the case was re-called, the judge remarked that the tenant had been threatened in a very serious way.
What Nulty said was delivered in such a way as to make it believable and Doolin was rightly terrified.
It was noted that no actual violence occurred.
The seriousness of the incident was marked by the recording of a three-year jail term.
However, this sentence was suspended in full once Nulty agreed to raise €5,000 to be offered to the man he attempted to intimidate.
This article was updated on 6 September following Mr Nulty’s reply to our request for comment