Landlord ordered to pay €12,000 compensation in discrimination case

Workplace Relations Commission found refusal to accept HAP scheme placed tenant ‘in a detrimental financial situation’

WRC adjudication officer Ewa Sobanska said she was satisfied the failure to accept the HAP payment  “exacerbated the distress” the tenant suffered.

WRC adjudication officer Ewa Sobanska said she was satisfied the failure to accept the HAP payment “exacerbated the distress” the tenant suffered.

 

A landlord who has been renting out property for 35 years has been ordered to pay €12,000 compensation to a woman he was found to have discriminated against on race grounds when refusing to accept a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) from her towards her rent.

The Workplace Relations Commission found David McCarthy’s refusal to participate in the HAP scheme had the effect of placing Valerie Enners “in a detrimental financial situation”.

Ms Enners claimed that Mr McCarthy left her in a position where she could not avail of the HAP scheme for a period of over 23 months.

She stated that this had a damaging effect on her family, both financially and personally.

Ms Enners who is originally from Latvia asserted that, as she was unable to avail of the HAP Scheme, she had to meet the shortfall with loans.

In support of her case at the WRC, her Irish neighbour gave evidence that she [the neighbour] commenced renting from Mr McCarthy in October 2016 and Mr McCarthy completed the necessary HAP forms for her at the time and she has been in receipt of HAP since.

As part of her case, Ms Enners presented audio evidence where she recorded on a mobile phone a conversation she had with Mr McCarthy.

During this conversation Mr McCarthy made statements to the effect that he would sign the forms but the local authority wouldn’t take it.

At the WRC hearing, Mr McCarthy said he has tenants of some 20 different nationalities. He argued that as long as they are respectable and pay the rent he has no problem with that.

He also said he has 33 HAP tenants and 35 years experience as a landlord.

He said that he had no reason not to sign Ms Enners HAP forms. She was a “good person” and he had “no issue” with her.

WRC adjudication officer Ewa Sobanska ordered him to pay Ms Enners €12,000 after finding he discriminated against her on the race grounds under the Equal Status Act. He has also discriminated against her on the housing assistance ground when refusing to accept her HAP scheme payment.

Ms Sobanska stated: “I am satisfied that it exacerbated the distress she suffered and the quantum of the compensation should reflect that.”

The addresses of the parties is not given in the WRC ruling.