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Discrimination Complaint Filed Against Local Authority Over Home Loan Approval

Dublin: Allegations have emerged of discrimination against non-EU nationals, including individuals from India, in the approval process for home loans. An anonymous Indian applicant has raised concerns about the Local Authority Home Loan, accusing the agency of illegal practices and discrimination based on nationality. Despite submitting applications three times, the applicant and his wife faced repeated rejections for seemingly unwarranted reasons. Moreover, their inquiries under the Right to Information Act went unanswered.

A Tale of Persistent Discrimination

The applicant and his wife jointly applied for a home loan through the county council. According to the criteria, non-EU/EEA nationals must have been legally resident in Ireland for five years and possess a leave to stay for five years or more to qualify for a local authority home loan. Meeting these conditions, the couple submitted their application, which was then forwarded to the housing agency for underwriting.

The husband has been legally residing and working in Ireland since 2019, and his wife joined him under a Stamp 3 Join Spouse Residence Permit. However, their initial application was rejected due to purported insufficient documentation. Despite providing additional documents to clarify their immigration status, their second application was also denied.

Residency and Work Permit Issues

The husband had consistently renewed his residence permit annually, demonstrating no impediment to the couple’s continued stay in Ireland. To substantiate this, he renewed his residence permit until early 2025 with a valid work permit three months ago.

Under Stamp 3, the wife was entitled to remain in Ireland with her non-EU/EEA partner holding a work permit. The husband was also eligible for Stamp 4 (permanent residency) this year, which would allow him to work without a permit.

Despite convincing the local authority of their eligibility, their third application was again rejected by the housing agency, citing the wife’s failure to meet the credit policy criteria for non-EU nationals.

Legal and Procedural Concerns

The applicant contends that this action violates Section 7(c) of the Housing Loan Regulations 2021. Housing Minister Dara O’Brien has emphasised that all loan applications must adhere to the scheme’s rules and lending policies.

The agency refused to approve the loan despite the submission of additional immigration documentation. There has been no publication of revised criteria or guidelines for granting loans, as legally required. Responses to parliamentary questions on eligibility criteria for non-EU/EEA applicants did not indicate any new conditions.

A Question of Nationality

The applicant believes the agency’s actions are rooted in nationality-based discrimination. Although the law permits some differential treatment based on nationality, the Department of Housing has not provided data to clarify these standards.

In a bid for transparency, the applicant filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act, 2014, seeking an explanation for their repeated application rejections. The request was denied, with the agency stating that such responses fall under the purview of the Minister of Housing.

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