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A landlord won't rent to me and I think it's because of discrimination. What can I do?

Question
A landlord won't rent to me and I think it's because of discrimination. What can I do?

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Reviewed: 
August, 2016
Answer

In Ontario, it is against the law for a landlord to refuse to rent to you because of your:

  • race, colour, or ethnic background
  • birthplace or citizenship
  • religion
  • age (if you are at least 18, or if you are 16 or 17 and not living with a parent)
  • sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression
  • disability
  • marital status

or because you:

  • are pregnant
  • have children
  • are on social assistance (welfare)

Sometimes discrimination is indirect and less obvious. The landlord might not even realize that what they are doing is wrong.

And some practices are considered discrimination because of how they affect different groups of people differently. This is called indirect discrimination. Here are some examples:

  • A building has no ramp at the main entrance – this can discriminate against people who use wheelchairs.
  • A landlord threatens to evict tenants because of noise complaints – this can discriminate against people with children.
  • A landlord won't rent to people with no credit rating – this can discriminate against tenants who are young or new to Canada.

Even if they don't mean to discriminate, landlords who will not change things like these could be breaking the law.

Learn more about this topic
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC)
Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)
Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)

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