Council’s Successful Prosecution is a Legal First in Northern Ireland.
Ards and North Down Borough Council has successfully prosecuted a landlord for the harassment of a tenant in what was the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland.
A landlord had never before been brought to the Crown Court in Northern Ireland but due to the serious nature of the offence, the Council opted to prosecute Matthew Betty in the highest court in the country.
After pleading guilty to conducting a course of conduct intended to deprive a tenant of her lawful occupation of a property in Bangor, Co. Down, Matthew Betty was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years. Four remaining charges were left on the books.
A spokesperson for the Council said: “Matthew Betty of Gwent, Wales, pleaded guilty to unlawful harassment of the occupier of a rented property contrary to Article 54 of the Rent (Northern Ireland) Order 1978.
“Between the dates of 1 December 2018 and 7May 2019, he conducted a course of conduct intended to deprive a tenant of her lawful occupation of her rented home in Bangor.
“He made the tenant’s life a misery during this time through various despicable methods of harassment, leaving the Council no option but to prosecute him in the Crown Court.”
Private tenants who experience problems with their landlord should contact Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Environmental Health Service for advice by telephoning 0300 013 3333.