Landlord who refused rent supplement ordered to pay €7,000 to tenant
Owner of property also served eviction notice on tenant on the basis that a family member of his would require the property
The WRC Adjudication Officer, Valerie Murtagh found the landlord discriminated against the woman by breaching his obligations under the Equal Status Acts when he refused to participate in the HAP scheme. File photograph: Alan Betson
A landlord who refused to accept rent supplement from a family who were already renting a property from him has been ordered to pay €7,000 in compensation.
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has upheld a complaint that the mother of a two year old child and her partner had been discriminated against by the landlord.
The family moved in to the rented property in August 2017 and in November 2017 they first approached the landlord about accepting the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), which is a form of rent supplement from the State.
The landlord, who is not named in the WRC ruling, refused to participate in the HAP scheme leaving the mother in fear they would be made homeless.
WRC Adjudication Officer, Valerie Murtagh found the landlord discriminated against the woman by breaching his obligations under the Equal Status Acts when he refused to participate in the HAP scheme.
Ms Murtagh said she found the tenant “to be a cogent and credible witness” and in contrast, found the landlord “to be inconsistent in his evidence”.
“I am cognisant of the complainant’s documented health issues and that she and her family have suffered considerable stress and anxiety as a result of the landlord’s failure to accept rent supplement/HAP.”
In her evidence, the tenant stated that the landlord’s refusal to participate in the HAP scheme was having “a detrimental effect on her mental health causing increased stress levels, panic attacks and anxiety in fear of being left homeless with a two year old daughter”.
She stated that her medical condition has been recognised and diagnosed by her GP and she was prescribed anti-depressant medication.
The landlord served an eviction notice on the tenant on July 16th 2018 on the basis that a family member of his would require the property. The Residential Tenancies Board found the termination notice to be invalid but the landlord has appealed this decision.
The tenant also went to Threshold who advised her that it was illegal for a landlord to refuse to participate in HAP.
The landlord stated that the property in question was the family home where he grew up. When his late father died in June 2016, he left the property to himself and his sister. He contended he had no issue with HAP and the real problem was that he wanted the old family home back and the tenants had a problem with this.
The landlord’s sister decided that that she didn’t want to move into the house but his daughter did. However she could not wait for the issue to be sorted out and is now living in a flat in Dublin, a situation he wanted to avoid.