Tenants awarded compensation after landlord refused Housing Assistance Payment

The WRC said it found the discrimination "to be at the more serious end of the scale"

Tenants awarded compensation after landlord refused Housing Assistance Payment

Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A landlord is to pay €42,000 after being found to have discriminated against three tenants by not offering them access to housing assistance.

In three judgments, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) said it was difficult to understand the landlord's attitude towards the 'model tenants'.

According to the complaints - which were examined together - the tenants were informed that the landlord did not wish to participate in the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme.

HAP is long-term housing support available through the country's various local authorities.

The WRC said it found the discrimination "to be at the more serious end of the scale", and that legal protections exist for "prospective and existing tenants alike".

The three tenants will now receive compensation, ranging from €13,365 to €14,977 each.

The WRC is also directing the landlord to "accept HAP payments from the relevant Local Authority forthwith".

The tenants were supported by the Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC) and Citizens Information Board (CIB).

Yvonne Woods is the Communications Manager with FLAC, and she explained that the tenants involved "simply needed that extra bit of help to make the rent".

Michael Owens, Advocacy Support Worker with the CIB, also welcomed the decision, which has been described as the 'first of its kind'.

He said: “Citizens Information wish to thank the tenants for their strength, patience and endurance during the past year, and to extend our gratitude to FLAC for their invaluable support in representing the clients at adjudication.

"We recommend that members of the public contact their local Citizens Information Service for assistance if they are experiencing similar difficulties in accessing entitlement to the HAP Scheme.”