Landlord Prevails in Discrimination Claim

by Chris on August 17, 2015

A tenant in Toronto failed to establish her landlord violated her human rights by failing to supply an orthopedic mattress in a furnished rental property.

The case highlights a unique challenge that landlords face when renting housing with furnishings. It also proves that disputes can arise even with long-term tenants. The landlord initially had intended to rent the room to the tenant only for a short time.

tenant screeningThe tenant, who extended her lease agreement four times or more, later claimed that she suffered from a disability, and that her landlord failed to make the necessary accommodations.

The outcome of the claim hinged on whether the tenant properly identified her request for a specialty mattress as relating to a disability.

The testimony before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal indicated that the mattress with which the tenant was provided aggravated her back problems, and also triggered an allergic reaction, which the tenant claimed ultimately forced her to break the lease and move out of the property.

However, the tenant was not able to convince the Tribunal that she had made it clear to the landlord that her request for an orthopedic and hypoallergenic mattress was intended as accommodation for a disability.

The tenant testified that she expected accommodations be made “unconditionally and without limit.”

The Tribunal noted that the landlord was the more credible party in this case, in large part because the landlord was “forthright” in her communication, and had records showing her willingness to address her tenants’ past complaints and to accommodate her tenants’ needs.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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