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Dublin Opinion >>
Sunday November 19, 2006 04:10 by Hank
Refusing rent allowance is discrimination
Refusing rent allowance is discrimination. Media carrying the statement "rent allowance not accepted" are enabling discrimination.
How to respond?
This advertisement was recently posted on popular Irish property website:
"3 bedroom house ******. Rent is 400 euro per month plus bills . A deposit of 400 euro + one months rent in advance required . Please contact ********** to arrange viewing. No social welfare tenents considered."
I considered it offensive. It was clearly discriminatory. I wrote to support@the website asking them to remove this advertisement:
Support replied saying that they would alter the advertisement to "rent allowance not accepted".
I contacted the equality authority to ask their advice on this issue. http://www.equality.ie . The Equal Status Act 2000 came into force on the 25th October 2000. As it relates to service providers, discrimination based on the following grounds: Gender, Marital Status, Family Status, Age, Race, Religion, Disability, Sexual Orientation, Membership of the Traveller community is an offence.
Therefore if the refusal to accept rent allowance can be tied into another issue such as disability, gender, sexual orientation or any of the categories covered under equality legislation then a case could be taken.
Even if it does not fall directly under any of categories above, it is my opinion that the statement "rent allowance not accepted" is offensive and is a statement of intent to discriminate.
I have requested that the website does not collude with or enable this form of discrimination by permitting the statement "rent allowance not accepted" to be posted on their web site. They have not responded as yet.
There is no genuine reason why rent allowance can not be accepted by anyone. The paperwork is minimal and the payment is guaranteed.
There is now in this country a housing emergency. Many people are denied access to decent housing, decent conditions and security of tenure by virtue of extortionate house prices and lack of local authority housing. Why should this group of people be stigmatized or suffer further due to the prejudice and immoral behavior, such as tax evasion, of others?
Therefore I am interested in finding out what steps might be taken in response to this overt and shameless discrimination.
One course of action is to take a test case against an individual landlord. Another useful step would be to stop the media carrying the advertisement from printing "rent allowance not accepted". The latter may seem trivial. However it would inconvenience the landlord. To print this statement is audacious. It is indicative of the ethos of this parasitic class and their fear of the less well off.
Feel free to comment. You suggestions are welcome.