If you have a new account but can't post, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help to verify your email address. Thanks :)
New AMA with a US police officer (he's back!). You can ask your questions here

Can a landlord ask if you are employed?

  • 05-10-2021 1:51pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,686 ✭✭✭ el Fenomeno

    If I'm renting out a house to tenants - can I ask them if they are employed, or if they have a current work reference? The intention is to reduce the risk of ending up with a tenant who will not pay their rent. Still a risk that someone who is working can just stop paying, but it helps to minimise that risk somewhat if the person has a job.

    If you can't ask this, what legally can you ask?

    Edit: By "Work Reference", I mean specifically ask for confirmation that the person is employed full time with that employer.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,686 ✭✭✭ el Fenomeno

    Good, because I'm not a landlord.

    Edit: To clarify, it came up in the subject of a landlord potentially discriminating against tenants who want to pay using HAP. A scenario was put forward that what does a landlord do if they want a work reference, but the tenant only pays via HAP - are they allowed discount the tenant for lack of a work reference? Are they allowed favour a different tenant who was able to provide a work reference?

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,906 ✭✭✭✭ Cuddlesworth

    F13   [   (3B) For the purposes of  section 6(1)(c)  , the discriminatory grounds shall (in addition to the grounds specified in  subsection (2)  ) include the ground that as between any two persons, that one is in receipt of rent supplement (within the meaning of  section 6(8)  ), housing assistance (construed in accordance with Part 4 of the  Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014  ) or any payment under the Social Welfare Acts and the other is not (the  “   housing assistance ground   ”   ).   ]

    F18   [   (8) In this section,  ‘   rent supplement   ’   means a payment made under  section 198  (3) of the  Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005  towards the amount of rent payable by a person in respect of his or her residence.   ]

    Anything that could be construed as trying to differentiate working tenants and social welfare tenants is liable under the amendments to the equality act and awards are given by a governing body other then the courts. They can be substantial. This goes from the more obvious questions like outright asking for work references/employment type, to possibly things like soliciting bank statements(looking for regular pay from employers), enforcing large deposits which would be unrealistic for social welfare tenants to provide or other possible scenarios which could be construed as discriminating like querying commute distance/times.

    As a Landlord, your options are extremely limited in vetting tenants and if possible, simply giving no reason or response for selection of tenants is probably the best option.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,502 ✭✭✭ Iseedeadpixels

    People who work use HAP too, I have it on my applications that I'll be using HAP but also work.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    One way around it would be to ask for character reference, and previous / current landlord reference.

    Say it's up to them to source a reference, most people that are looking for a rental property or room in a house are well used to knowing that landlords ask for work and landlord reference, and such prospective tenants would forward them on to you without you needing to specify more details.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,490 ✭✭✭ dennyk

    It's not just HAP, but "any payment under the Social Welfare Acts", so it is definitely illegal to discriminate against a potential tenant because they don't have a job. It will absolutely still happen, but it is illegal, and coming straight out and asking them if they have a job or requesting pay stubs (or putting anything like "would suit working professionals" in your ads) is likely to give rise to a discrimination complaint if they don't have a job and you turn them down. If you don't ask and you're very careful about what you do ask for, it will be much harder for them to succeed in such a complaint.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,378 ✭✭✭ Tow

    We now have prospective tennants arriving at viewings with the their landlord packs ready. With written references, payslips, bank statements etc. No need to be asking about HAP when they gladly supply info to show then don't qualify for it.

    Or course it still it still does mean they won't wreck a place.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 9,932 ✭✭✭ DaCor

    You can ask anything you wish about employment, but a tenant is under no obligation to tell you the truth and can lie through their teeth should they wish to do so

    Its also incredibly easy to fake references and other documents. I've done it in the past many times.

    I know I sure as hell wouldn't be providing any landlord with my legit statements/references. None of their business. At the end of the day, if I pay the rent on time and don't wreck the gaff there is little else the landlord needs to know

    Even getting legit copies of those doc's does not tell you anything about the potential tenant as to their willingness to continue paying rent or their behavior in the property.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,268 ✭✭✭ mrslancaster

    Can a landlord not ask prospective tenants to provide proof of ability to pay? I always thought that was a basic part of a contract - one party provides the goods or services and the other party provides payment. How a tenant pays shouldn't matter to the landlord whether its all salary/wages, all social welfare, or a mixture. A tenant can view a property and check that it meets standards and is suitable for their needs, a landlord needs to check the tenant can fulfill their side of the contract. Obligations on both sides.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭ JimmyVik

    If I were a landlord and someone didnt send me up front checkable previous landlord and work references, a note about themselves and their ability to pay etc. (a landlord pack as someone said above). I would just ignore and move on to the next person.

    In fact I what a mate did who used to be a landlord was he would ask all applicants to tell a little about themselves. If they didnt supply all the info along with work refs he wouldnt contact them back. The ones who did, he picked his top 5, did the checks (called their work, called there previous 3 landlords. The current one he took anything good they said with a pinch of salt. He was more interested in the ones before that) in advance and invited them to view. Some already had moved by the time he invited them, but it always worked out for him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,932 ✭✭✭ DaCor

    As I said, it's incredibly easy to fake references.

    Landlord needs to phone a reference, no problem, just it's going to be one of my mates he'll be talking to and he won't be any the wiser

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,485 ✭✭✭ Claw Hammer

    It is also an offence to utter forged documents. I know a couple who were caught out when a landlord was able to trace their previous landlord to an address

    they had said nothing about, but the new landlord got wind of.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,944 ✭✭✭ recode the site

    As a landlord I’d smell a rat immediately if I were given a fake reference. Also, as a landlord I’d be only too happy to issue my excellent tenants a genuine good reference that I can back up. A good tenant should have no issues getting a reference. If it’s first time renting then references from employer/volunteering opportunities tenant took up etc, would be good.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,932 ✭✭✭ DaCor

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,601 ✭✭✭ Fol20

    That is all that matters but if the ll doesn’t know you at the beginning how do you expect them to weed out the good from the bad?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,932 ✭✭✭ DaCor

    They can't. You could have a lad wearing Armani suits still not paying the rent and wrecking the gaff

    Its the same for tenants. Sometimes they get a landlord who fixes stuff promptly and treats them with respect and sometimes they get lazy ones who couldn't care less if the roof was falling in but are still happy to charge a fortune

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,932 ✭✭✭ DaCor

    LL: He gave me forged documents

    Prosecutor: And what happened as a result of this

    LL: He paid me rent every month and kept the place tidy

    Prosecutor: .....

  • Registered Users Posts: 509 ✭✭✭ 10pennymixup

    Hello fake Landlord, did you register the tenancy and if so what was tenancy registration number? Sure if you don't have it the tenant will. And if neither of you do, well the next potential tenant will.

    And the falsifying of documents is considered to be fraud.

  • Registered Users Posts: 611 ✭✭✭ houseyhouse

    Of course some people who can pay will choose not to but more common is that people are struggling to pay and then something comes up that eats into their income and they don’t make their rent. Hence, landlords want to check ability to pay.

    And it’s really not the same risk for tenants. If you have a crap landlord, you can leave with little notice, especially early in a tenancy. And yes, I do know that it’s very hard to get a place to rent at the moment but *legally* you can leave even if you’ve signed a fixed-term lease. When you go, you can take all your possessions with you. The only thing at risk is your deposit. And while the deposit is worth a huge amount to somebody who needs it back, the cost of bad tenants for a landlord can be many multiples of their deposit.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,095 ✭✭✭✭ javaboy

    Are you missing the point on purpose? References help sift the good from the bad. They're not foolproof. But if someone has been employed for a continuous period of time, it suggests that they're at least somewhat responsible and would be more likely to pay their rent and not wreck the place. It's a percentages game.

    There will always be dishonest people like yourself who will provide fake documents or supply a mate's phone number but in general most people won't do a very good job of it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,594 ✭✭✭✭ ted1

    on the flip side I let exclusivily to those on HAP/RAS etc. As I know the council pays for them ( granted they top it up a bit) so I don’t have to worry about not getting paid. I know exactly what rates the council sets , so I know what I can rent for.

    generally go with a single mum with 2+ kids

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,687 ✭✭✭ enricoh

    A mate of mine rented out his place to a family he got a good vibe off. He was contacted a few months later by the wife saying that the hubby had legged it home and she was left to mind the kids and would have to go on hap. He had to spend 4k to get it up to hap standard and a fair bit of hassle to organize trades etc.

    The hubby moved out for a couple of weeks til the hap got sorted and is back now with a fresher beemer! My mate shrugged his shoulders n said if he rats them out it could be 2 years of no rent to get them out.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 112 ✭✭ YipeeDee

    Easy to weed out fake landlord references. Just phone the RTB to see if the named LL has registered a tenancy at that address.

    I only contact landlord references after confirming with the RTB that they are registered landlords.