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Rental ads can no longer specify preferred tenants as IHREC wins equality case
IHREC's Emily Logan

21 Aug 2019 / human rights Print

Rental ads can no longer specify preferred tenants as IHREC wins equality case

Property website Daft.ie can no longer publish rental property advertising which specifies the type of tenant preferred.

A case taken by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has said that Daft Media Ltd must “refrain from publishing, displaying or permitting to be published or displayed on its website” what it described as discriminatory adverts.

Terms such as “professionals only” or “rent allowance not accepted” may no longer be used in adverts. The phrase ‘reference required’ is also banned.

The rental platform has been told to find a way to block the use of such phrases on its site based on a list of terms of “trigger words and phrases” provided to them by IHREC and which contravene equality legislation.

The WRC found that some rental adverts on daft.ie breached the Equal Status Act 2000 on the grounds of family status, age or of being a recipient of housing allowance.

Conduit platform

Daft.ie had contended that it was not a publisher but a conduit platform protected by EU law as an Information Society Service Provider (ISSP).

Daft.ie lists about 70,000 properties for sale or to rent and has 2.5 million unique visitors each month.

Daft Media contended that the IHREC claim refers to three specific adverts and that any finding cannot be extended.

It said that terms reported as discriminatory are diverted for review before publication.

However, the WRC adjudication found that Daft.ie had a “vicarious liability” for adverts on the website.

IHREC Commissioner Tony Geoghegan said: "In the context of the current crises in homelessness and housing, this ruling marks a significant step in efforts to curtail discriminatory advertising particularly around rental accommodation.

Welfare payments

“The Commission is seeing systemic discrimination against people in receipt of housing social welfare payments, against people with families, against those seeking employment and against young and old people.

"Advertisements for accommodation should describe the property available, not people."

He said: "Today’s outcome cuts off advertising options for people who would seek to discriminate when advertising rental accommodation."

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