Housing & Housing Assistance Payment

Housing & Housing Assistance Payment Discrimination

Discrimination on the ‘housing assistance ground’ occurs where there is less favourable treatment of one person compared to another in the provision of accommodation, because one person is in receipt of rent supplement, housing assistance or any social welfare payment and the other is not.

Protection from discrimination on the ‘housing assistance’ ground applies to accommodation only and does not extend to the provision of goods and services, educational establishments or clubs under the Acts

The general rule is that there can be no discrimination on the Housing Assistance Payment ground in relation to:

  • disposing of any estate;
  • terminating a tenancy;
  • providing accommodation or, any accommodation related services or amenities; or
  • ceasing to provide accommodation.

The premises or, accommodation must be available to the public generally or a section of the public.

What's covered?

The Equal Status Acts 2000–2018:

  • promote equality;
  • prohibit certain kinds of discrimination (with some exemptions) across a number of specified grounds (Age, Civil Status, Disability, Family Status, Gender, Housing Assistance Payment, Membership of the Traveller Community, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation);
  • prohibit sexual harassment and harassment across a number of specified grounds;
  • prohibit victimisation;
  • require reasonable accommodation of people with disabilities;
  • allow a broad range of positive action measures.

The Equal Status Acts also implement the following two EU Directives – the Race Directive and the Gender Goods and Services Directive.

What's not covered?

There are several significant exemptions in the Equal Status Acts that apply to the provision housing and accommodation.

These exemptions should be read restrictively and should not be allowed to limit unduly the general prohibition on discrimination.

Case Studies

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What's next?

Make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is the body that hears discrimination complaints under Ireland’s equality laws. The WRC deals with both employment and service/goods related claims. There is no fee to bring a case to the WRC and complaints can be made online.

Learn more about the WRC process

Contact us

We, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, have a statutory role to fight discrimination and provide information on equality and human rights in Ireland. Please note however that we are not a court and we do not decide on discrimination claims.

Learn more about how to contact us

Contact another organisation

You may find that another organisation could better help you with your issue.

  • Employment rights / Equal treatment in services

    Workplace Relations Commission

  • Social welfare information

    Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

  • Social welfare appeals

    Social Welfare Appeals Office

  • Rights and welfare of children

    Ombudsman for Children’s Office

  • Unfair treatment by a public body

    Office of the Ombudsman

  • Private landlord and tenant dispute

    Residential Tenancies Board

  • Support for housing rights


  • Homelessness and social housing

    Mercy Law Resource Centre

  • Homelessness

    Dublin Region Homeless Executive

  • Homelessness

    De Paul

  • Homelessness

    Dublin Simon Community

  • Vulnerable adults, older people and healthcare patients

    Sage Advocacy

  • Independent living for people with disabilities

    Independent Living Movement

  • Traveller Community rights

    Irish Traveller Movement (ITM)

  • Traveller and Roma rights

    Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre

  • Legal advice for Travellers

    Traveller Legal Service - FLAC

  • Older people

    Age Action Ireland

  • Immigration

    Immigrant Council Of Ireland

  • Children's rights

    Children's Rights Alliance

  • Community law and mediation

    Community Law & Mediation

  • Legal advice

    Free Legal Advice Centres

  • Legal aid

    The Legal Aid Board

  • Citizen's Information Centres

    Citizen's Information

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