What role does Gardaí play in tenancy disputes? – The Irish time

An Garda Síochána’s role in police evictions is to ensure that public order is maintained and that no crime is committed.

This emerges from an internal policy document issued by the force in November 2020 following a series of controversial evictions that saw Gardaí clashed with protesters.

The Garda’s role in evictions received renewed attention over the weekend, as a tweet showed a painting of a famine-era eviction manipulated to show members of An Garda Síochána wearing safety vests and safety hoods.

Sinn Féin property spokesman Eoin Ó Broin retweeted the image with the comment “Without words”. The Secretary-General of the Association of Sergeants and Inspectors of Lake Garda, Antoinette Cunningham, responded on Twitter, describing Mr Ó Broin’s tweet as “deeply offensive and totally inappropriate” for an elected official. Mr Ó Broin later said his tweet was intended as a criticism of the government and not of Lake Garda.

Irish Property Owners Association Chairwoman Mary Conway said “scaremongering” about evictions could lead to unrest. Most landlords are decent people and work with their tenants when trying to repossess a property, she said.

The Garda Policy Document on Repossessions and Evictions sets out how Gardaí should ensure that the local county officer or superintendent is informed when they are notified of an eviction. This person is then responsible for overseeing the police response.

“When a Garda presence is deemed necessary and a retrieval/eviction resource is dispatched, the senior member present at the crime scene conducts a dynamic risk assessment,” the document reads.

Questions to consider include the legality of the eviction, the role of the gardaí, if any, as described in the court document or legal document supporting the eviction, and the content of a risk assessment conducted by the seeking agents to repossess the property on behalf of the landlord .

human rights concerns; the measures taken by agents to minimize the risk of public disturbance; their level of education, if any; the existence of an operational plan of the agency; and any intelligence or previous adverse events that indicate a possible breach of the peace are other factors to consider.

Because the process is likely to produce “disorientation, stress and anxiety,” the presence of people showing signs of mental illness, acute conduct disorder or other mental health impairments is another factor to consider, the document says.

“A Garda Síochána should not engage in such rental disputes unless a criminal offense is alleged or disclosed,” the document said.

“It is the duty of the force to ensure that citizens enjoy their right to live free from violence, abuse and crime. Garda staff also help maintain an environment where people can live free from fear and enjoy other rights and freedoms.”

If an alleged crime has taken place, the Gardaí should seek and retain evidence for video surveillance. According to the policy document, no recording or surveillance by the force should take place without proper approval.

In 2018 there was widespread controversy when hooded gardaí attended a eviction on Dublin’s North Frederick Street when masked agents acting for a landlord attempted to evict protesters from a building following a court order. Clashes broke out in the street between members of An Garda Síochána and people protesting the eviction.

New legislation has since been introduced to regulate agents acting on behalf of landlords, but the relevant parts of the new Code have yet to be tackled.

Landlords seeking repossession of their property against a tenant’s will require a detailed process involving the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) and the courts. In a fully contentious process, it can take up to a year for a termination (ie, termination) to result in a court order awarding ownership to a landlord.

From July 2022, any landlord serving a notice of termination to a tenant must send a copy of the notice to RTB. The latest available figures on terminations received by RTB relate to the third quarter of 2022 and show 4,741 terminations. 60 percent arose from cases where the landlord wanted to sell the property. Another 16.7 percent were cases where the landlord or a family member wanted to move into the home, while 15.7 percent cited a breach of tenant responsibilities.

The number of terminations does not correspond to the number of apartments that landlords want to release or the number of tenants who are about to look for a new apartment. This is because a termination could affect multiple tenants in a tenancy, or separate terminations could apply to tenants of the same property. The figures for the last quarter of 2023 will be released on Monday.

https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/housing-planning/2023/04/02/eviction-ban-ends-what-is-the-role-of-gardai-in-tenancy-disputes/ What role does Gardaí play in tenancy disputes? – The Irish time

Dais Johnston

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