A landlord is to pay €42,000 to three tenants after being found to have discriminated against them by not offering them access to housing assistance.
In a judgment, the Workplace Relations Commission said it was difficult to understand the landlord’s attitude towards the model tenants.
The three will now receive around €14,000 each in compensation.
Three almost identical cases were brought against the same landlord to the WRC and heard together.
The landlord contended that it was not obliged to accept Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) as the new law did not apply to existing tenants.
Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC) acted for all three complainants, identified as Tenant A, B and C.
The tenants were referred to FLAC by a Citizens Information Centre who assisted the tenants in lodging their complaints with the WRC and advocated on their behalf.
The cases were heard together in March this year and it was contended on behalf of the tenants that the protection under equality legislation extended from the pre-tenancy phase through to the ultimate termination of the tenancy, and that the legislation would be ineffective if it did not protect sitting tenants.
The decision of the WRC clarifies that the protection from discrimination extends to not only prospective tenants but also sitting tenants.
Communications Manager with the Free Legal Advice Centre, Yvonne Woods said: “The adjudicating officer described them as model tenants.
“They had always made the rent; they had been doing everything they could to be there and meet their obligations – they just simply needed that extra bit of help to make the rent.
“The adjudicating officer in the case said it was hard to understand why the landlord refused the payment.”