Adverts continue discriminating against rent-allowance tenants

Equality Act 2015 names ‘housing assistance’ as grounds of illegal discrimination

It is  illegal for a landlord to refuse to show a property to a person in receipt of rent supplement or Housing Assistance Payment, though they can refuse to let to someone who cannot afford the rent. File photograph: Getty Images

It is illegal for a landlord to refuse to show a property to a person in receipt of rent supplement or Housing Assistance Payment, though they can refuse to let to someone who cannot afford the rent. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Home rental ads which discriminate against tenants in receipt of rent allowance are still appearing on property websites, despite their being illegal since January 1st.

The Equality Act 2015 specifically names “receipt of rent supplement” or “housing assistance” as a grounds of illegal discrimination with regard to housing provision.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is meeting housing and homelessness agencies on Tuesday to discuss ongoing difficulties with the new law and with making complaints against landlords and agencies allegedly discriminating.

In a briefing last week, IHREC said phrases such as “rent supplement not accepted” or “professionals only” could no longer be used in ads. Such stipulations as “professionals only” or requirements for employer references are also discriminatory, it says.

Housing Assistance Payment

It is also illegal for a landlord to refuse to show a property to a person in receipt of rent supplement or Housing Assistance Payment, though they can refuse to let to someone who cannot afford the rent.

Landlords, letting agents and property advertisers are all bound by the new legislation, says IHREC.

The two main property websites, Daft.ie and MyHome.ie, were last week still publishing apparently discriminatory ads.

On Daft.ie, a number of ads specified “no rent allowance”. One, for a one-bed apartment on North Strand, Dublin 3, for €1,000 per month, specified: “The property will suit a couple or single person, not suitable for children. It is not within the threshold for people on rent allowance and for this reason, rent allowance is not accepted.”

MyHome.ie had several advertisements specifying “professionals only”. One for a property in Douglas, Cork, with a rent of €800 a month said: “Suits professionals. References required.”

A spokesman for Daft said: “Our understanding is that the content of any ad is the responsibility of the property advertiser and not the publisher (in this case Daft.ie).” Advertisements brought to Daft.ie’s attention by The Irish Times were either amended or removed.

Compliance with law

A spokesman for MyHome.ie, which is owned by The Irish Times, said all ads received were screened to ensure compliance with the law.

“After that the content and language used is really a matter for the estate agent or individual landlord. We receive very few complaints but any we do receive are investigated fully.”

In addition, there are difficulties taking a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission about alleged discrimination. To do so, a complainant must notify the landlord or agent in writing. However, ads on websites do not always provide landlords’ addresses.

A spokesman for Daft said they would provide landlords’ addresses to the WRC, but not to an aggrieved prospective tenant.

A spokeswoman for MyHome said: “We would always advise someone to go to the Private Residential Tenancies Board. ”