A tenant’s High Court action against his landlords claiming he was threatened with instantaneous eviction by masked men has been settled.
uke Barnett sued landlords Michael Smith, editor of Village magazine, and Ian Lumley, alleging he was last week threatened with eviction from his central Dublin flat if he did not sign a piece of paper stating he would voluntarily leave within five days.
He alleged he felt “intimidated and scared” and felt he had no choice but to sign the paper agreeing to leave his home at Ormond Quay Upper.
In recent days the High Court made orders directing Mr Smith and Mr Lumley to furnish Mr Barnett, who receives Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), with keys to the new lock allegedly installed at the rental address.
The order prohibited the respondents, and anyone having notice of the order, from interfering with Mr Barnett’s use of his home at the flat until his High Court case was resolved.
Counsel came on record for the respondents, but no replying affidavits were filed to the court. Mr Barnett’s claims are denied.
On Friday, Mr Justice Conor Dignam was informed the case had been resolved.
Mr Barnett’s counsel, Eoin Morris, said the matter was settled on confidential terms. He asked for the proceedings to be adjourned until March with a view to them being struck out at that point.
Previously, in securing the orders, Mr Barnett (43) claimed he was woken on January 16 by loud banging and opened his door to find Mr Smith, Mr Lumley and masked men standing there.
A masked man placed a padlock on his door and Mr Barnett was told the locks on the main door of the Ormond Quay building had been changed, he claimed.
“I was repeatedly threatened with an instantaneous eviction were I not to sign the paper as requested. I was told to put on my shoes and that I could think about it on the quays,” he said.
He said he captured the incident on video.
He claimed Mr Smith had messaged him last December 22 to say he would be evicted in a month’s time due to an incident with the tenant of another flat in the same building.
Mr Barnett alleged the other tenant attacked him after he (Barnett) asked during the night for the other tenant to turn down his music. Mr Barnett claimed another resident, a woman, had to pull the man off him and Mr Barnett called gardaí.
For €800 per month, Mr Barnett had exclusive occupancy at the Ormond Quay flat, but he shared facilities in the wider building with other residents, he claimed. He said he received HAP because he gets a permanent disability allowance owing to a neurological condition that includes epilepsy.
Following Mr Smith’s alleged message, Mr Barnett made a complaint to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), he said, adding that his case was due to be heard on January 27.
He claimed he never received any notice to quit or other documents in writing from the landlords.
Mr Smith and Mr Lumley responded to correspondence from Mr Barnett’s lawyers by saying he did not have a tenancy agreement and is an unreliable interlocutor, he said.
They also alleged he had received repeated warnings, including written warnings, over his behaviour and claimed he has engaged in repeated anti-social behaviour that is documented, he said.
Mr Barnett denies the claims made by the landlords, who deny his allegations.