A tenant accused of tampering with an electricity meter to avoid having to pay to use it has been ordered to vacate the property within seven days after an electrician said the lives of other people in the building were in danger.
Andlord Anthony Farrell told the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) he feared his insurance policy would be voided and was concerned about a fire outbreak.
On inspection of the house at Fairview Avenue, Dublin 3, after receiving reports of a burning smell, he found that the meter box held no money and had given out free electricity as the wires had been crossed.
In his statement, tenant Kieran Ward admitted the meter in his apartment may have been tampered with, but claimed he was not the person who did it.
The tenant told RTB he was being treated harshly and should not be evicted
He said the door to his apartment had been forced open and anyone could have come in.
When Mr Ward moved in, the landlord gave him two months of free electricity as a “goodwill gesture”.
He rented the apartment for €990 per month and received housing benefit (HAP). He contributed €25 a week from his social welfare towards the rent.
The tenant said the property is an old house that has been divided into separate rooms and sleeping quarters.
He complained that the front door to his apartment had been forced open and some of his belongings had disappeared.
Mr Ward told RTB he was being hit hard and should not be evicted from the property.
However, the landlord said he had to consider the safety of others in the building.
A letter from ELM Electrical and Security Contractors detailing electrical wiring concerns was provided by the landlord.
The report confirmed that the main fire department had been manipulated.
It stated that the main power connection had been crossed with the neutral wire and that this caused the main power supply to fail.
It would have presented a significant fire hazard if left unattended.
Mr Farrell said it was his understanding that if he was made aware of a fire safety issue at the home and he did not act, the insurance company could refuse cover in the event of a fire. He said he was obligated to deal with any dangers in the home.
When questioned by the tribunal, Mr Farrell said he could not be sure it was the tenant who damaged the meter.
Lines had been crossed in such a way that free electricity reached the tenant’s apartment
However, the RTB ruled that the seven-day eviction order was valid and ordered the tenant to vacate the property.
The RTB umpire found that the tenant was the person “most likely to benefit from the electricity meter malfunction as the meter did not contain money/coins when inspected and the wires were crossed so free electricity was allowed into the tenant’s home “.
RTB also questioned why the tenant did not do this
inform the landlord that the meter continued to work without inserting coins.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/tenant-ordered-to-leave-after-coin-operated-electricity-meter-was-tampered-with-endangering-others-41960874.html Tenants asked to move out because of manipulation of the coin counter, “endangering others”