Landlord to Pay $10,000 to Wrongfully Rejected Tenant

by Chris on September 15, 2014

A young person in Ontario who was denied housing based on her age has recovered an award of $10,000 from a prospective landlord.

In addition, the landlord was ordered to develop a human rights policy and train staff.

tenant screeningThe Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that the young tenant, a 17-year-old girl, was particularly vulnerable, and that she relied on adults to act within the law when leasing rental property.

In this case, the tenant had been a Crown ward since she was 13 years old, was homeless, and was attempting to finish high school. Her rent would have been paid through a guaranteed government source.

The tenant claimed that she called the apartment building manager and asked to see a vacant unit. She said she chose the building because she knew someone who lived there. The prospective tenant was provided a tour, and then told the manager that she wanted the unit. The manager gave the prospective tenant a blank application, and then asked her age. When the applicant revealed that she was 17, she says the manager rejected her. The leasing agent allegedly explained that a previous 17-year-old tenant had trashed a unit, and that the landlord would not be able to claim damages, so as a policy, the landlord would no longer rent to a 17-year-old.

The Tribunal points to the applicable sections of the Ontario Human Rights Code, which provide:

“Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of accommodation, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, disability or the receipt of public assistance.”

“Every sixteen or seventeen year old person who has withdrawn from parental control has a right to equal treatment with respect to occupancy of and contracting for accommodation without discrimination because the person is less than eighteen years old.”

“A contract for accommodation entered into by a sixteen or seventeen year old person who has withdrawn from parental control is enforceable against that person as if the person were eighteen years old.”

The Tribunal went on to explain that intent to discriminate is not a governing factor in construing human rights legislation.

A social worker assisting the tenant referred her to The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation¬†to evaluate her case. A CERA representative contacted the landlord’s employee and explained that the decision to reject the tenant on the basis of age was illegal. Despite that information, and a warning of possible¬†legal action, the manager and landlord continued to deny the tenant’s application to rent.

It took this tenant a significant amount of time to find replacement housing. During that time she was forced to stay with an abusive boyfriend and was on occasion homeless. The Tribunal criticized the landlord for discriminating against a vulnerable member of society, and found that the tenant suffered loss of dignity and other injury before awarding the tenant $10,000.

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).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

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.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew September 16, 2014 at 5:23 am

While I sympathize with this tenant’s plight, the reality is taking on such a tenant could be a huge risk to the landlord. The claim “Her rent would have been paid through a guaranteed government source” may indeed not be true. In Ontario many tenants make this claim to unsuspecting landlords, when the reality is the tenant can stop payments to the landlord by simply calling their social services dept. It is unfair and unreasonable to force landlords to have to accept single tenants as young as 16 years of age, especially in provinces such as Ontario that already have very very tenant favorable rental laws. Further, in my mind this landlord tried to be fair and compassionate and explained why they did not want to rent to someone of such a young age…………….in return they were punished. Frankly I would have simply run a credit check on the tenant. The chances are the report would have showed poor credit: application denied. In my mind ontario’s law makers continue to make rental policies while being devoid of the realities of the landlord. Always always do the credit check!!!

Gunther Hehr September 16, 2014 at 8:06 am

fully argee with Andrew, Credit check is the only way to keep a situation like this under control.

Marv September 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm

There is more than one way to deny a rental application without discriminating and without getting yourself into hot water with Human Rights or Residential Tenancy Branch or any Tenant Advocacy group.

1.) Conduct inquiries with current/previous landlord to determine tenant worthiness. No tenant history? Sorry you don’t meet my criteria. OR…you receive information that doesn’t meet your criteria. i.e. missed rent payments, didn’t get security deposit back etc. Make some inquiries. On the other hand if he/she was a good tenant, paid rent on time etc. perhaps you do want to rent in spite of age. Good tenant record!
2.) A property Management Company generally has more than one applicant to choose from…yes? Then…I chose another applicant, sorry!
3.) As a landlord I would never deny tenancy based on a consumer credit report or what could be perceived as a human rights violation.

Landlords should have a checklist for ” My Criteria” I.E.
>non smoker
>no pets
>stable income
>good tenant history with current/previous landlord
>good references
>good credit history
>bank statements showing check deposits and positive balances, no NSF
>presentable, cooperative, follows direction (completed application as requested)
>interviewed well
>would get along with other tenants (your opinion)

How many of these could you deny application on…doesn’t meet my criteria. So you don’t have to be specific. “You don’t meet my criteria” It could be anyone of the above.

Jacob March 22, 2015 at 3:29 pm

One should t have to lie to deny a prospective tenant tenancy! It drives me crazy the regulations that exist in Ontario, if the ministry writing these regulation had to foot the bill for all the losses landlords got for poor tennants, they’d change their minds in regards to Their “functional” regulations and laws! The tenant has literally NO accountability to a lease while a landlord has to follow it 100%! The ministry should void ones personal privacy Rights when tenants default on heir responsibilities and owe money, and lanlords should be able to see all these issues brought to the tribunal if we’re the ones paying all the time.
The tribunal does absolutely nothing to help except delay the process for non paying tenats to stay longer, thanks canadian gov :)!!! The fact that one finally gets the eviction date and one has to pay more $$$ to get a fat unfit 70 yr sheriff in to protect while chanGing locks, goes to show you, all Ontario is about is Charging $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ iTs ridiculous!!! The only legal way to evict a tenant in onario(maybe canada not sure) is to pay the tribunal $$$ or lie and say a family member is moving in, completely absurd!!!! It’s not the landlords fault this is happening, it’s the policies that allow this scum to exist lol, but with licensing coming in most towns, u’ll see more income housing having to be erected as landlords get inline with the “standard building regulations” to get this licensing, housing prices will rise making it unafordable for these 17yr olds anyways, so soon she too can be living in a city jail house except this jail doesn’t have police in it they just visit a lot!!! Dumb dumb dumb

Andy Chapman February 2, 2016 at 5:22 pm

Andrew Hit The Nail On The Head; ( But I can contribute )

As of Feb, 2016, the waiting list to hear a eviction proceeding in Ontario is AT LEAST 6 months plus fees and damage to the unit. The Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal has switched venues in Peterborough to the Holiday Inn banquet facility because they ran out of room for all the hearings in the MNR building.. ( the biggest Federal building in Peterborough )
The average cost inclusive of utilities for a two bedroom unit in Ontario is $1336.87 and the income for ODSP, and Ontario Works is $1104.00 for a family of three including one child under 18, plus $400.00 for a Child Tax Benefit paid on the 20th for each child. The electrical and gas suppliers in Ontario can shut off a vital service to the tenants for non payment, but a Landlord cannot. The utilities send a letter and includes a disclaimer to the owner to protect their properties in the event of freezing damage as a result of non payment of power by the tenant, leaving the Landlord with no alternative then to put the power in his name…( and at this point the Landlord cannot shut the power off as it becomes an offence under The Residential Tenancy Act in Ontario )

At this point…Landlords are third on the list for payment.. factor in the food these people need …..consider Landlords 4th.

Once a tenant gets behind in rent.. they never come back.. give them the N4.. and hold on as long as you can… scroll up, factor in Paralegal fees, ORHT fees, witness fees and loss of rent revenue.

It’s no wonder Landlords are drying up in droves.. in a few short years.. Ontario will be the only Landlord capable of housing and managing dead beat tenants they seek to protect… I give it ten years.

Anyone who had gainful employment these days, and has a credit score of 675 or better.. bought houses.

I continue;

Bring in the Syrian Refugees with 3 or 4 kids ( that the government is focusing on ) .. each child qualifying for the CTB . Child Tax Benefits are a Provincial responsibility.. The Syrians are a federal responsibility, funded my Immigration Canada.. And that too Andrew, is paid directly to the refugee family, forgoing the risk solely on the back of the Landlord.. and increasing or frustrating the lack of housing for citizens already here desperately seeking housing.. get that into you readers..

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