Ask A Broadsheet Reader


He ran out on the rent.

But is he worth a public shaming?

Only YOU can decide.

‘Reluctant Landlord’ writes:

So being landlord was never really part of the plan but current circumstances warranted I should consider the option, and after 7 years of living on my own I thought it would be a welcome change.

With the help of a friend I published an advertisement on and before long I had a number of people over to view a room I had to rent. I settled on a person ill refer to as Martin – he was young, friendly and seemed easy going.

Everything was good a for a time. He had his parents and son over and I arranged spare beds for them – all seemed to be good.

Come the New Year things changed and bills/ rent were becoming late and he mentioned to me he was having financial difficulties but promised he would sort me out so trusting as I am I allow him some grace .

Two weeks passed and he told me the money was sent – again I trusted him at his word – a week later I check my account see the funds had not arrived so I contact him and he sends me
the transaction ID and confirmation of it being sent but I confirmed it had not arrived – he responded that he would look in to it.

I then did not see him for a few weeks and I came home mid-March and noticed his room was somewhat cleared out – he had left a note on the bed which indicated his financial troubles had taken a real turn and he had to move back to England .

The note stated he lost his job, his girlfriend and his life had pretty much fallen apart – he promised he would pay what he owed. I contacted the email address he left and advised him of my concern and was happy to discuss an installment plan for reimbursement.

As most of you reading this will not be surprised I heard nothing from him. I tried again to no avail. I was however during this time periodically checking his Facebook for updates to see where he was then out of the blue could not access his page so I assumed it was deleted.

However I randomly decided to search him while on a friend’s computer and the page was still live in which he recently posted a celebration post about being with his girlfriend for year and I also noticed he had updated his job to a company in North Dublin and was working there since March 1.

I’m now left with a dilemma while I was going to write off the amount (€1100) as a bad debt and put it down to the lessons of being a landlord.

However learning that he lied in almost every aspect of the note he left has me re-thinking things – while I accept I may not be able to get the money back – I am somewhat peeved knowing what happened and why I’m writing the article to as for you advise on what I should do.

Do I show up outside his workplace and ask for it on front of his employers? Do I ask his girlfriend? Do I message his father?

He had one months deposit which covered one months rent but he still owes me for two months and I’m short of cash as it stands. There is no way I can take him to the small claims court even and not even the RTB. What else can I do?


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58 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

  1. ahjayzis

    Why can’t you take him to the small claims court? That’s anything under a few grand and like a tiny fee?

    1. Bonkere

      Small Claims Court does not hear landlord-tenant disputes, only the RTB does. This landlord can apply to the RTB for a determination order which is then enforceable in the Circuit Court. Enforcement includes Sherrif seizing goods and getting his details published in Stubb’s Gazette which will mean no bank will ever lend to him. it’s a lot of hassle over a grand but it can be done at a small cost and without the need for a solicitor.

      1. scottser

        it’s not a dispute over a notice to quit or an application of the residential tenancies act. this is theft, pure and simple so small claims court is the correct route.

  2. Rob_G

    Chalk it up to experience.

    If someone is renting a room in your house, they are a licensee rather than a tenant. This very much alters your rights and responsibilities; suggest you read up on this, save yourself some stress in the future.

    1. Barry the Hatchet

      The PRTB doesn’t deal with people renting out a room in their home. They are not properly considered landlords and are not subject to the usual laws governing the landlord/tenant relationship.

      1. Yeah, Ok

        Renting a room in your own home makes the renter a licensee, not a tenant. Therefore it has nothing to do with the RTB and nothing to do with laws regarding tenancies. It’s a completely unprotected agreement basically akin to you doing the renter a favour and them throwing you a few bob for it.

        1. pedeyw

          Fair enough, I’ve met too many dodgy landlords so I tend to assume the worst. Apologies to Reluctant Landlord.

  3. Increasing Displacement

    “Do I show up outside his workplace and ask for it on front of his employers? Do I ask his girlfriend? Do I message his father?”

    Are you serious? You are as bad as him.

    As mentioned, small claims court and stop whinging

  4. Paps

    You should have vetted him better, and asked for a deposit.

    Small claims court if you’re fussed.

    Sounds like you’re not cut out to be a landlord.

    1. kellma

      Harsh indictment for someone who is not a landlord (they rented out a room in a house they live in) and given he seems to be pretty new to this…
      Anyway yes, small claims court is the way to go. If you have any paperwork where you agreed on terms get it together. Do you still have that letter he left you saying he was “on the boat to England” (spare me… it is the 80s all over again!) Have you SMS, emails where you agreed on rent, due dates and any documentation that shows where you were following up arrears and where he was saying he would pay it by x,y and z?

      1. Birneybau2

        “Harsh indictment for someone who is not a landlord (they rented out a room in a house they live in) and given he seems to be pretty new to this…”

        A house they own, a bit different.

    2. Murtles

      He did ask for and got a deposit which he did not refund but is still out 2 months rent.
      Why disrespect the landlord instead of the lying thieving leech that robbed over a grand off him?

  5. MoyestWithExcitement

    “after *7 years of living on my own* I thought it would be a welcome change.

    *With the help of a friend* I published an advertisement on”

    This guy might be older and more trusting and naive. Some folks need to calm down with the shouting at him.

  6. John

    Small Claims court is not an option as this is only an option for claims against a business.
    You will need to go to the district court for this.

      1. John

        If it was the licencee for claiming for his deposit from the home owner I would agree but it is not at all clear that it will work in the other direction in the same way.
        Small claims was set up to accomodate consumers claiming from businesses and now (in certain limited circumstances) for business to claim against other business.
        Business against consumer is not so clear.
        He can try it and see if it will be accepted.

  7. stephen

    I don’t think small claims will cover this it really is for claiming against a business.
    Be no harm in saying it to his Dad you might get your money back, though I wouldn’t hold out too much hope.
    I’d be bit wary about turning up at his workplace but understand where you are coming from.

  8. Daisy Chainsaw

    Did you declare this extra income to Revenue? If so, I’d write to him c/o his work with a copy of all lease agreements, correspondence etc telling him of your intention to pursue him through the SCC if he won’t engage with you.

    If the rental income was undeclared, then you’re a tax dodger and you can fupp off with yourself.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      He was getting €550 a month, lived alone for 7 years and needed help posting an ad on Daft. He’s hardly in the same box as someone with an accountant and an offshore bank account. Chances are he didn’t even know you had to declare it.

      1. Tomorrow never comes

        He’s hardly in the same box as someone with an accountant and an offshore bank account

        – Yes he is. Tax fraud which is what that would be is not a function of your occupation or where you stored the money you failed to declare the taxable income on.

      2. Harry Molloy

        that’s very presumptuous of you, suggesting the guy is somehow ill informed in incompetent because he lives alone

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Lol! You’re so desperately mad at me you’re reading things in my posts that aren’t there.

    2. LW

      He’d be under the threshold Daisy, from the sound of things. You can earn something of the region of 14k tax free by renting out a room in your house

    3. Brother Barnabas

      No tax liability unless the annual rent exceeded €14,000, which wasn’t the case.

  9. H

    I like the idea of writing to him to let him know you are going to pursue him through the courts, that way he has the option of paying you and he can’t whinge about being taken to court if he ignores you.

  10. Stephen

    yea you could send him a letter at his work place telling him your seeking to name and shame him through the courts if he doesn’t transfer the money by next pay check. See if this results in getting the money back and if not proceed with court action

  11. diddy

    Hes a snivelling little weasel. Embarrass the little male member at work.. with a nice placard saying sonso mc sonso doesnt pay his rent.. thatll learn him.

  12. Catherinecostelloe

    The ex tenant had rent to pay and a child from a former relationship to support. He may have got strapped for cash over Christmas by sounds of it and debunked by March. I’d face him , call into his workplace and tell him quite calmly he still owes you and burying his head in the sand ain’t go to resolve it. Tell him to be realistic, how much can he afford out of his wages ? You have to be realistic as well….he may have zero hour contract, minimum wage so try to settle. Good luck!!

  13. Rcc

    Send a polite letter to him via the address of his new work place reminding him he still owes you money. Should semi put the poopy-poops up him! If no response I would have no problem catching him on his way in/out and asking for your money

  14. Anomanomanom

    Why not just ring the job and leave your name and number asking for him to call back. I will say be careful as he does know where you live.

  15. snowey

    contact his father…if he won’t pay , the shame might make his father pay on his behalf.
    then you will know that he will be eternally shamed.

    and you get your cash

  16. Mr. P.

    There is only one route to recourse in this matter.

    Judge Judy !

    “The cases are real. The people are real. The rulings are final.”

  17. Peter Dempsey

    1) Write to him at his workplace. Send via registered post. Tell him that you will turn the debt over to The Viper if he doesn’t pay up.

  18. Riz

    Just dipped back in to Broadsheet to see what’s new. The comments on this particular post reminded me why I stopped checking out the site a few months back.

  19. Jesus Wept

    Pop a letter into his workplace.Let him know it’s time to pay what he owes or you will be forced to go to small claims court.

Comments are closed.

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