Discrimination within private rental sector against HAP recipients must end – Munster
Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has today spoken out against discrimination experienced by some tenants availing of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, and the ineffectiveness of the complaints procedure available to those individuals.
Teachta Munster was speaking in the wake of a test that was carried out recently, where five people called the same letting agency on the same day, enquiring about the availability of the same property.
Two of those callers declared that they were in receipt of HAP and were advised by the letting agency that they would be put on a waiting list for the property. Three callers who advised that they were not in receipt of HAP were offered viewings of the property.
Deputy Munster said;
“This is happening every single day with landlords and letting agents across the state. This is clear discrimination against those in receipt of HAP. There is no sanction for this type of behaviour.
“At present the onus is on the individual who has been discriminated against to complain, and the complaints process is wholly inadequate.
“The onus should not be on the person seeking housing. A system should exist whereby any member of the public can report a discriminatory letting agent or landlord.”
“The process which complainants must undergo can take up to six months, and by then obviously the property in question will already be off the market. The current system is not working and is not properly resourced.”
“Presently the Workplace Relations Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission are regulating the system.
“I intend to raise this matter of blatant discrimination with the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and I will ask him to extend these powers to Threshold and the Residential Tenancies Board in order to ensure that those who wish to challenge this unfair system have speedy and effective access to a complaints procedure, and where appropriate, a system of redress”.