Solicitor landlord on housing charge

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A COLERAINE solicitor has been summonsed to court by Coleraine Borough Council for allegedly failing to bring his OAP tenant’s home up to a habitable standard.

Fergus McIntosh, whose address was given as Upper Abbey Street, Coleraine, was due to appear at North Antrim Magistrates’ Court on Friday last, charged with failing to comply with a notice of unfitness served on the property under the Private Tenancies Order.

Legal representative for the Council, Oonagh Mullan, informed the court that McIntosh had telephoned her that morning.

In the call he claimed he only became aware, “on the grapevine”, of the hearing the night before and would be unable to attend.

McIntosh is alleged to have fallen foul of an Environmental Health department assessment of his rented property after it was deemed “unfit for human habitation.”

Situated at 800 Seacoast Road, Downhill, the house is currently home to 76-year-old pensioner, John McCarter, who says he is “dreading another winter without proper heating or electricity.”

The Notice of Unfitness, which demands that the defendant install electric light and provide heating and ventilation in the house, was served on February 22, this year, after Mr. McCarter won a landmark battle with NIE to be connected to the National Grid after 27 years without electricity.

The notice has so far not been complied with forcing Council to summons McIntosh for non-compliance.

Speaking at Coleraine Courthouse on Friday, District Judge Richard Wilson, agreed to a one month adjournment to September 2 “for mention” to permit the defendant time to receive court papers.