Irish gay couple turned down by multiple landlords
House-hunting pair speak out about the constant struggle to find a place to live.
Ian Begley and Eric Wan are currently living with Mr Begley’s parents but are trying to find a place of their own.
Mr Begley points out that many factors are against them – “My boyfriend is a recent accounting graduate, he’s currently unemployed so it’s not the ideal situation to move out.” – but that they have been turned down on multiple occasions specifically because they are gay.
He told RTE 2FM: “We’ve been persistently looking, but we’ve been turned down countless times by landlords who say they don’t want to let gay couples into their home.
“The first time it was a Polish man. He seemed really nice, he was interested in getting to know who we are. On my way up he said, ‘Are you and your girlfriend going to be here anytime soon,’ I said I’m with my boyfriend. There was a pause, until he said, ‘You’re gay guys. Oh well, that changes everything. I won’t have gay people living in my house.’
“I’d be getting emails back saying we don’t let gay people into our house. A Moldavian landlord said, ‘You’re gay are you? I’m not sure if we can allow you. There’s a child in the house and I’m not sure what the parents would think about it. We’d have to get all occupants of the house together and have a vote about whether you can stay.’
“I ring up landlords and we have banter over the phone. Once I say I want to move in with my boyfriend, there’s always that long awkward silence, and an awkward laugh and then they say, ‘No unfortunately not, I don’t agree with the gay lifestyle, or we wouldn’t know what to expect.’”
“I’ve got it in writing several times. Yesterday, there was a man who emailed me back saying, ‘We don’t let gay people in here, didn’t you read the ad, we have a child.””
Mr Begley is a journalist, and he and Mr Wan have been together for 18 months – and have been house hunting for two of them. They say they spend all their free time looking for a place to live.
“I’m optimistic and confident we’ll get through it but its disheartening.”