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Landlord 101 – Discrimination Edition

Man hiding face
What were they thinking?

In today’s news I read this article about a Landlord in Yellowknife Who Accepted Two Gay Guys Application AND MONEY Then Decided Not To Rent to them at the last minute, leaving them with no place to live. He didn’t even return their deposit so he’s a thief too.

If the reported facts are correct this landlord deserves the Stupid Landlord of the Year award both for being a douche and being totally ignorant of the laws that govern his business.

In my post on MillionDollarJourney about The Business of Owning Income Property I go into the concept of how many landlord get themselves in trouble by not doing their due diligence on the other part of owning an income property, they make the mistake of assuming that once they buy the building it’s green pastures from there on. In reality the hard work is only starting. Property Management is a Requirement for Success as a Landlord. Part of property management is keeping abreast of developments in your industry.

I’m not really sure what this landlord was thinking, maybe he secretly wanted to be sued. That’s the only conclusion I can come to. He basically stole their last month’s rent deposit, then said that gays are “an abomination and one of the reasons the world is going to hell in a hand basket.”

The law is very clear on this issue, the landlord cannot discriminate. Human Rights in Housing are here to stay. If you haven’t seen the Ontario Human Rights Fact Sheet for Landlords you need to do your homework. If you aren’t in Ontario find out the law in your area.

Why do I consider this landlord so stupid?

  1. He stole people’s money so he’s a thief which I don’t like

  2. He doesn’t know the law.

  3. He couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

That’s right if you discriminate against people you should at least learn to keep your stupid mouth shut and he’s not even smart enough to do that. I have told landlords time and time again, YOU DON’T NEED TO GIVE A REASON WHY THE APPLICANT IS DENIED.

This is so important I will say it again.


How To – Not Giving a Reason for Denial of Rental Application

Hi, Mr. So and So I’m calling about your application for 123 Main Street, Anytown.

(Tenant says “Yes”)

I’m sorry but your application is denied.

(Tenant says “Why? most don’t by the way)

I’m not discussing this with you. I’m very sorry but your application is denied and the decision is final. Thank you very much for applying.

Then you hang up the phone.

Yeah it’s not pleasant but it takes the same amount of time as ripping off a BandAid and much less time than getting a root canal. Let’s face it by this time you have decided that the answer is no and they are never going to be your tenant so who cares if you are abrupt with them. Being a landlord is not a popularity contest.

Yes But I have a Legitimate Reason for Turning Down Their Application

Do you really want to turn down a simple denial into a long drawn out discussion, argument or worse begging so you’ll give them the place? I think not. One of the reasons you give may be interpreted as a violation of their Human Rights or something else that will get you in trouble.

My Experience on Discrimination

I don’t like it and I think it’s bad for business. I can tell you that almost 100% of people I have evicted are Canadians. The other day I was really thinking about this and I searched my memory long and hard. I have evicted just one immigrant and he was a guy who had been in Canada for over 20 years. So that’s the facts.

Here’s the list of people who are protected against discrimination.

  • race, colour or ethnic background

  • religious beliefs or practices

  • ancestry, including people of Aboriginal descent

  • place of origin

  • citizenship, including refugee status

  • sex (including pregnancy and gender identity)

  • family status

  • marital status, including people with a same-sex partner

  • disability

  • sexual orientation

  • age, including people who are 16 or 17 years old and no longer living with their parents

  • receipt of public assistance.

The ONLY people I have evicted in an abnormally high percentage on this list are people on social assistance. Most of the people on this list are EXTREMELY good risks.

Representative Mix

Having said that as a building owner it is very wise to have a representative mix of peoples in your building. For instance about 50% of people are female so your building population should represent this.

I can hear landlords saying this now...

But it’s my building or house and I can put whoever I want in there. Well actually you bought a building and now you are in the service business of housing people. No other business has the right to discriminate against people. Can you imagine a car dealership that didn’t sell cars to black people? disabled people? immigrants? This thinking seems ridiculous when you compare housing to other industries.

After everything I’ve said about all the very good reasons not to, you’re still bound and determined to discriminate learn to not be an idiot about it and keep your mouth firmly shut unlike our Yellowknife landlord and thief.

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