Northern Ireland

Property People suspends employee over Youtube recording

A Belfast estate agent has suspended a staff member after a recording of him threatening and verbally abusing a resident of a house was posted online.

Property People took the action after the recording appeared on Youtube.

The staff member let himself into the rented house on south Belfast's Damascus Street and swore at and berated a student who lived there.

Property People said it was shocked and horrified he had behaved in "such an unprofessional manner".

At one stage the man threatened to knock the "head off" one of those inside the house.

He also called him several derogatory names.

Property People had phoned the students the afternoon before and told them someone would call round the next day to inspect the house.

When their employee called round the following morning, the students asked if he would come back later, but he let himself in.

Student Bill McAtavey recorded the conversation, then posted it on Youtube. Within days over 25,000 users had played it.

Property People said: "As a business we pride ourselves in the way we deal with all of our clients.

"We subscribe to the Property Ombudsman's professional code of conduct and expect all our staff to behave in a professional manner.

"However, in light of this incident we will be reviewing our staff training and development procedures with immediate effect."

Mr McAtavey said Property People had phoned on Monday, apologising for what happened and that they had offered to issue this apology in writing.

He said that he did not have any problem with the company and had good relationships with many of the people at the company prior to this.