Rent discrimination victims face long wait for help

Tenants on rent supplement who are discriminated against by landlords will go to the back of a long queue if they make a formal complaint, the body tasked with investigating cases has warned.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) says it is inundated with employment cases and queries and does not have the staff to take on new responsibilities.

WRC director general Kieran Mulvey said he was angry the law had been enacted without resources being committed to it.

“Our call centre is in- undated with requests for information on employment rights. In the last number of months, because we have been given responsibility for the employment permits situation, we’re now overloaded with employment permit inquiries.

“We also have 5,000 cases we have received for hearing on various employment related issues since the first of October, and we almost have a strike a day now.

“A law is only useful when it can be implemented. We have neither the resources, the personnel or the facilities to deal with this.”

Mr Mulvey spoke out after the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission issued a reminder to landlords that since January 1st this year, it has been illegal under equality legislation to turn away prospective tenants simply on the basis that they are in receipt of rent supplement or other forms of housing assistance.

The IHREC acted after it became clear from accommodation websites that many landlords were still advertising properties with ‘no rent supplement’ conditions attached. It urged tenants who suffered discrimination in this way to ask the WRC to investigate.

But Mr Mulvey said the Private Residential Tenancies Board was better placed to take on such cases. “We will have to say to people, with honesty, you go to the back of the queue and it’s a long queue.”


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