By JR on Wednesday, August 17, 2011
We can't discriminate against them but they can discriminate against us! And it's taxpayers' money they are using to do it
A CO-OPERATIVE of gay men has won the right to continue leasing their properties exclusively to homosexual tenants. The District Court's Equal Opportunity Tribunal yesterday granted House-One Co-operative Inc an exemption from the state's Equal Rights Act.
The exemption allows the group to provide secure, long-term, affordable accommodation to gay men who have experienced difficulty finding private rental properties.
Outside court, House-One chairman Darren Webb said it was a "positive move" for the group. "We're a community, we can talk to each other, help each other and support each other," he said. "Most people think gay men are rich ... that's not the case."
In court yesterday, Mr Webb said many gay men had negative experiences in the private rental market and most felt their sexuality was a factor.
House-One treasurer Bill Dell told the court he had once been evicted by a private landlord because a distant relative was returning to Adelaide who required the accommodation. Later checks by Mr Dell revealed that was not the case and that new tenants - a young, straight couple - had moved in after him.
The co-operative said gay men seeking accommodation with their partner found it especially tough. Some were encouraged to pretend to have a girlfriend or wife when applying for a lease.
House-One manages 16 Housing Trust SA homes, predominantly in the CBD. Under yesterday's ruling, the co-operative is now exempt from accepting any non-gay applicants via the register for their properties. Men who rent the properties can do so for renewable periods of six months, provided they become a member of the co-operative.
Judge Jack Costello said the wider public interest had prompted the tribunal to grant the exemption.