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Landlord ordered to pay couple €6k after refusing HAP allowance to pay rent

The couple said the landlord’s refusal had “a damaging effect for their family, both financially and personally”.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Shutterstock/Matteo Provendola

A LANDLORD HAS been ordered to pay €6,000 in compensation to a rent allowance approved couple after being found to seriously discriminate against them.

Due to the landlord’s refusal to allow the family of six supplement their monthly rent with rent allowance, the family was at a loss of €555 per month or €4,440 during the eight months.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Adjudication Officer, Ray Flaherty said that in light of the seriousness of the discrimination, he has deemed it appropriate that the landlord pay the family a total of €6,000.

Flaherty found that the landlord discriminated against the couple on the ‘housing assistance ground’ under the Equal Status Act.

The couple involved have degree and post-graduate qualifications and found themselves out of work and with four children to support, finding it difficult to manage.

The couple stated that the landlord’s behaviour “had a damaging effect for their family, both financially and personally”.

They stated that the landlord’s refusal to accept the rent allowance or Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAPS) payment had worsened their already difficult financial situation.

The couple qualified for rent allowance in May 2017 and sent all of the necessary paperwork to the landlord for inclusion in the scheme.

According to the couple, the landlord told them that he would not participate in the scheme unless he stood to benefit financially.

The couple stated that the landlord suggested that he would visit the rented property and would discuss with them how much money they have coming in and, then, they could come up with a “new figure” which they could pay him.

The couple also stated that the landlord informed them that they were lucky to have the house at a rent of €750 per month and he informed them that they would do well to remember that as he could get over €900 per month rent for the house in the morning if he wanted to.

The couple also stated that the landlord informed them he was going to raise the rent substantially at the end of the 12-month lease but would not provide that demand in writing.

The landlord told the WRC hearing that he never indicated to the Estate Agent that he would agree to a HAPS.

The landlord went on to state that the situation was untenable from his perspective.

He stated in evidence that his situation “was not a good match” with the complainants’ situation.

The landlord further stated that HAPS would benefit landlords in a lower tax group than he is, but it was of no benefit to him.

In his ruling, Flaherty found that the refusal by the landlord caused additional and unnecessary financial hardship for the complainants and their family.

Flaherty said that the landlord’s refusal to engage with the couple in any meaningful or positive manner has been particularly unreasonable and the discrimination in the case was quite serious.

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Gordon Deegan

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