Estate agent abuse ‘not uncommon’

By Claire Tennyson

A STUDENT welfare officer says an incident this week where an estate agent barged into a student’s house in South Belfast is not “an isolated one”.

Adam McGibbon, who is welfare officer at the Student’s Union, said: “I want to highlight the only unusual thing about this incident is that Bill McAtavey recorded it.

“This is not an isolated incident and I have on many occasions sat with students waiting on police to arrive to report similar matters.”

Bill, who lives along with friends in Damascus Street, recorded an employee from Property People threatening and verbally abusing him.

“We had been told the estate agent would be there around 2:30pm and he arrived unexpected at 10:30am going mental.” Bill said.

“He was shouting up at the window and I told him that he had not given us 24 hours notice and that I was not letting him in.”

The staff member is then believed to have let himself into the property breaking the lock on the door to gain entry.

“I was really intimidated by him. I mean if you listen to the recording I think anyone would be intimated by it.

“The only thing was I knew I was recording it and felt some sort of protection in knowing that people would eventually find out what I had been subjected to.”

Bill then uploaded the video to YouTube last week, and the recording was viewed more than 750 times before being removed by the website after legal threats.

Since then the estate agent from Property People has been suspended and the company has released a statement saying they were “shocked and horrified” to hear the comments made by their member of staff.

The University of Ulster student from Keady said he was not happy to hear the estate agent had been suspended and he was more concerned with highlighting the proper regulations that landlords should follow.

He added: “Last year our landlord was excellent, he was more like a friend to us and no problem was too big or small.

“This year is totally different and I wanted to highlight what is going on in the Holylands as students are always getting a bad name.”

Adam said the Students Union have now set up SU Lets which they would encourage students to go through to find a suitable place to live throughout their time at University.

“The letting agency is located on the ground floor of the Student’s Union and they are committed to ensuring students find quality houses owned by reputable landlords.”

“Last year our landlord was excellent, he was more like a friend to us and no problem was too big or small.”

 

 

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