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Monday 29 May 2017

Mum told she couldn't rent apartment to be paid €3k

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ordered the unnamed Dublin-based estate agent to pay her the equivalent of two months' rent. Stock image
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ordered the unnamed Dublin-based estate agent to pay her the equivalent of two months' rent. Stock image

An estate agent must pay €3,000 to a single mother, after he discriminated against her while she was trying to rent an apartment.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ordered the unnamed Dublin-based estate agent to pay her the equivalent of two months' rent.

The agent had told the woman the landlord was looking for a couple to rent the property.

The woman claimed she had been discriminated against under the Equal Status Act on the grounds of her being a single mother and being single.

None of the individuals involved in the case were named in the WRC report.

The commission heard how the mother and her toddler were last year looking for somewhere new to live.

She told the WRC this proved exceedingly difficult. She said she spent many hours a day emailing letting agents and landlords.

On April 17 last year, she saw a two-bedroom apartment for rent and emailed the letting agent.

"I'm a single mum with one toddler. I'm looking to rent using the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, which means rent is paid directly to landlord's bank account from Dublin City Council," she wrote.

"Could you let me know if this would be agreeable."

In reply, the estate agent said HAP was acceptable but the landlord was looking for a couple. "Apologies on this. Kind regards," the agent said in its response.

Message

The woman felt that, on receipt of this email, there was no point in her pursuing the apartment.

Outlining her evidence to the WRC, the report said, for her, the message was clear.

"The landlord wanted couples only and she, as a single mother, had no chance of getting the apartment. The email was a 'firm no', a 'flat refusal', and in her opinion to say anything else is 'ridiculous'.

"For her, this was a case of a one-parent family being refused access to housing," the report said.

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