The Secret to Resolving a Human Rights Complaint (Without Paying a Penalty)

by Chris on October 11, 2010

Discrimination can result from all phases of tenancies, including improper restrictions in rental ads, inappropriate tenant screening, or bad property management policies.

Often times a landlord does not realize they may be breaking the law.

The Alberta Human Rights Commission has some tips for all landlords who may be facing an accusation of discrimination by a tenant or applicant:  resolve it early, and you may avoid paying a penalty. 

The Commission encourages those who feel aggrieved to contact the landlord first before filing a formal complaint, to see if the parties can reach some common ground without intervention.   If a complaint is raised, a landlord should follow these suggestions:

When an applicant or tenant comes forward with a concern, the landlord should realize that the person is seriously considering making a human rights complaint.

The best strategy for a landlord is to listen with an open mind to their concerns before a formal complaint is filed, as this may prevent further legal action.

Try to get the entire story from the tenant. The more details you understand about the situation, the more likely you will be able to find a creative and mutually satisfying solution.

Be respectful and let the tenant know that you care about their concerns.

Remember that, as a landlord, you have a legal duty to accommodate tenants.

The Human Rights Act provides that every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability. 

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.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tom Thomas March 30, 2011 at 1:19 pm

It’s best to go with your gut instinct when deciding on whether or not to let your property to an individual. You are normally the best judge of character unless of course you are naive. I can tell within 5 minutes whether a tenant is going to be hassle.

I have gone against my gut instincts in the past at great personal cost.

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