MyHome.ie would like to remind all agents of their responsibilities when advertising properties as outlined in the Equality Act 2015.
Advertisers will be in breach of The Equality Act 2015, which came into force in January, if they include the words such as “no rent allowance accepted” in rental adverts.
Housing assistance has been also incorporated as a new ground for protection.
It means that people in receipt of housing assistance, rent supplement, or other social welfare payments can no longer be discriminated against in relation to the provision of accommodation.
The provision of private rented accommodation is considered a service under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015 which prohibit discrimination, directly or indirectly, on the grounds outlined below:
- Civil Status (Changed from marital status following the enactment of “Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Acts 2010)
- Family status
- Sexual orientation
- Membership of the Traveller community
- From 1st January 2016, a landlord cannot discriminate against a person in receipt of rent supplement, housing assistance or any payment under the Social Welfare Acts.
Also a person cannot be discriminated against by association.
Breaches of these rules can lead to fines of up to €15,000 if a complaint is made to the Workplace Relations Commission.
Some examples of discrimination include using terms such as:
- ‘rent supplement not accepted’ and ‘professionals only’ in property ads
- refusing to allow a person to view a property or let to them because they are in receipt of rent supplement, housing assistance or other social welfare payment
- ending a tenancy or not renewing an agreement because they are in receipt of rent supplement, housing assistance or other social welfare payment.
It is illegal to discriminate against those in receipt of rent supplement in terms of the provision of accommodation services. However, landlords are entitled to seek a market rent for the property and Rent Supplement doesn’t always cover this.
Any adverts which breach these rules will have the offending text removed immediately.
A more detailed breakdown of the guidelines can be found below…
Property Advertisement Equality Guidelines
The Equal Status Acts 2000 and 2004 provide that a person cannot discriminate in selling a property, making or ending a tenancy or providing accommodation services to another on any of the following grounds:
- That one is male and the other is female (gender ground)
- That they are of different marital status (marital status ground)
- That one has family status and the other does not or that one has a different family status from the other (the family status ground)
- That they are of different sexual orientation (sexual orientation ground)
- That one has a different religious belief from the other or that one has a religious belief and the other has not (the religion ground)
- That they are of different ages (the age ground)
- That one is a person with a disability and the other is not or is a person with a different disability (the disability ground)
- They are of different race, colour, nationality or national origin (the ground of race)
- That one is a member of the traveller community and the other is not (the traveller community ground)
- That one is receipt of rent supplement or any payment under the Social Welfare Acts and the other is not (the housing assistance ground)
In respect of housing assistance, it is still possible for a person providing accommodation to make it a condition of the provision of that accommodation that rent supplement is paid directly to that person.
The following exceptions apply:
- In relation to shared accommodation the Equal Status Acts allow people to be treated differently on the ground of gender where for privacy or where it may cause embarrassment.
- The Equal Status Acts allow people to be treated differently on all ten grounds set out above where the accommodation is provided by a person in their private residence or where the provision of the accommodation affects the person’s private or family life or that of any other person residing in the home.
- There is also an exception in respect of premises for religious purposes, refugees, nursing homes, retirement homes, homes for persons with a disability or hostels for homeless.
An advertiser can be held liable for displaying or publishing or causing to be published or displayed an advertisement which indicates an intention to discriminate on any of the above grounds or where it might reasonably be understood as indicating such an intention.
As such both MyHome.ie and property agents can be liable for discriminatory advertisements.
Property advertisements should not indicate that certain people or groups of people would be treated less favourably. If they do they may breach the Equal Status Acts.
Below are some examples of advertisements which would breach the Equal Status Acts:
- Adverts using phrases such as “rent supplement not accepted” “professionals only” would indicate an intention to discriminate on the housing assistance ground.
- Adverts using words such as “mature” “young” would indicate discrimination on the age ground
- Advertising for persons of one nationality only would discriminate on the race ground
- Adverts using words such as “suitable for families only” would discriminate on the family status ground.
- Adverts requiring tenants to produce a particular national passport as proof of identity would discriminate on the race ground.
It is MyHome.ie’s policy not to allow the publication of any advertisements which breach the Equal Status Acts and it makes all reasonable efforts to ensure that no such advertisements are published on its site.