Tower-block tenant is evicted for starting fires

A TENANT has been evicted from the Latharna House tower block after twice lighting fires.

A Housing Executive application for a possession order went unchallenged at Ballymena County Court recently.

The unnamed tenant lit fires on the floor of his flat in the 15-storey high-rise, burning the flooring and causing smoke damage to the dwelling. NIHE said this week it was not aware that anyone had been injured, adding that it had not yet costed the the damage.

Larne district manager Eric Woods said eviction was not an action the Housing Executive took lightly, but it had acted swiftly in the interest of all residents.

“The Housing Executive is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour in our housing areas, often working with others to ensure that residents can live safely and peacefully in their homes,” he said.

“As a housing authority, we do not want to see people losing their homes. However, we have a duty to the vast majority of residents in our housing areas who are law abiding and have a right to be able to live in a safe environment,” Mr Woods added.

“In this instance, the tenant not only put his own life in danger by his actions but also endangered the lives of others living in the block of flats. As severe warnings went unheeded, we were left with no alternative but to take prompt action through the courts, working closely with our area community safety officer to obtain possession of the property,” said the district manager.

Mr Woods said NIHE staff work to resolve antisocial behaviour problems through early intervention and mediation, often preventing the need for more serious action.

“In Larne, we will continue to work with residents to resolve issues of anti-social behaviour, however we will not hesitate to take eviction action should the circumstances and evidence warrant this,” he warned.

The Housing Executive urged anyone in the area experiencing anti-social behaviour to ring 03448 920900 and ask for the Larne District Office.”