What does discrimination when renting look like?

What does discrimination when renting look like?

Have you been discriminated against? Below are some examples of discrimination when renting.

For more information about protected grounds when renting, visit: Are you a renter? An introduction to the Alberta Human Rights Act.

1. Ancestry

 Ethnic cooking

“Every time I cook, my neighbour complains and says, “no one wants to smell your ethnic food.” The neighbour complained to the landlord. The landlord warned me that I could be evicted if I keep cooking ethnic foods. I think this is discrimination.”

2. Source of Income

Upset Woman on Floor Next to Boxes and Foreclosure Sign

“I have been living in the same apartment for three years. I just lost my job and I am on welfare while I look for a new job. My landlord found out that I am on welfare and she said, “I don’t want tenants who are on welfare. Get a job or get out.”

3. Marital Status 

Pregnant woman 2

“I went to look at an apartment. The landlord saw that I was pregnant and asked, “Where is your husband?” I am not married.  She said, “I can’t rent to a single mother. Single mothers never pay the rent on time.”

4. Physical Disability

Man in wheelchair

“I need a wheelchair to get around. I went to look at an apartment and the landlord said, “Sorry, I don’t rent to people who might have trouble getting into the building.”

5. Mental Disability

Man looking away

“I have been diagnosed with depression. My landlord found out and demanded to know if I was on medication. When I told him that this was not his business, he threatened to tell the other tenants.”

6. Family Status

Family two children

“We have two children. My wife is pregnant. We would like to move our family into a bigger apartment in the building when it is available. We asked our landlord about moving into a bigger apartment. When she found out that my wife is pregnant, she said that our family was getting too big and that we should start looking for another place to live.”

7. Religious Beliefs

Man with kippa

“I am Jewish and celebrate Succot, a religious festival. I asked my landlord if I could assemble a temporary hut, or succah, on my balcony to observe the festival. My landlord said no, I am not allowed to decorate my balcony. It is not a decoration. It is a part of my religious practice.”

8. Where you were born

Mid-East family (dreamstimemedium_7654224

“My family moved out of an apartment. We left the apartment in the same shape as when we moved in. My security deposit was not given back to us. I read the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) and went to see the landlord the next day. He said, “People from your community broke the floor so I am keeping your security deposit.” I said, ‘Under the Residential Tenancies Act, you cannot keep my deposit. The condition report shows I did not damage the floor.’”

9. Sexual orientation

lesbian marriage (dreamstime_1094834

“My wife and I were looking for a place to rent. We are both women. The landlord said, “this is a one bedroom apartment, where will your roommate sleep?” We told him that we are married. He became upset and told us to leave. He said, “I don’t rent to people like you.”

Have you been discriminated against? You can call the Alberta Human Rights Commission. You can tell them about your situation and they can provide you with information about your rights. 

To contact the Commission, visit: www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca


You should not rely on this article for legal advice. It provides general information on Alberta law only.

Funding for this article was provided by the Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund.

Published May 2016. Copyright Legal Resource Centre of Alberta Ltd.

For more information on human rights, visit: http://www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca/

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