News Courts

Thursday 21 August 2014

Man fails in bid to stay in Dublin City Council home after sister's death

Aodhan O'Faolain

Published 09/05/2014 | 18:11

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The woman was awarded €17,908.

Edward Lattimore had challenged Dublin City Council's refusal to allow him succeed to the tenancy of a three bedroom house at Ennis Grove, Irishtown, Dublin.

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The High Court's Mr Justice Iarfhlaith Ó Neill yesterday upheld the refusal after holding it did not breach Mr Lattimore's constitutional  and  European Convention rights.

The court heard Mr Lattimore moved to England in the 1960's but returned to live at the property in 1991 to care for his sister, who had an intellectual disability. Since then he paid rent, managed the property and believed he was a joint tenant of the house.

Following his sister's death in 2012, he discovered he was not a tenant. He made an application for succession to the tenancy, which was rejected by the Dublin City Council (DCC) in March 2013.

DCC in its refusal informed him a three bedroomed dwelling was not appropriate to the needs of a single person. DCC offered him one bedroom accommodation in close proximity to Ennis Grove, at a complex for older persons, where Mr Lattimore's brother resides.  

He claimed DCC's refusal breached both his constitutional rights and rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. Medical evidence was given Mr Lattimore's mental and physical health would be seriously affected if he is forced to leave the house.

DCC, in opposing the action, denied it breached his rights and said it had acted at all times in accordance with its statutory obligations. It said Mr Lattimore was not entitled to a tenancy at Ennis Grove because he paid  rent there.

DCC said it had 1431 applicants seeking accommodation in the area, 134 of whom were seeking three bedroomed houses.  DCC also argued there is no statutory obligation or authority on it to provide such a review.

Mr Justice Ó Neill in dismissed Mr Lattimores action said there could be "no doubt DCC had a difficult choice to make".

The Judge said he was satisfied DCC had fulfilled its obligations to Mr Lattimore by providing him with suitable housing, close to his current home, while accommodating the needs of a family requiring a three bedroomed house. DCC's decision he said was not in any sense disproportionate.

The Judge added there had been no breach of Mr Lattimore's rights, and in the circumstances could not interfere with DCC's decision.

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