Posts Tagged ‘landlord advocacy’

Staff Instructed to Discriminate Against Renters With Children?

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

August 13th, 2012


A formal complaint has been filed to the Sask. Human Rights Commission

What’s the Story?

A former employee of a Saskatoon rental company has filed a complaint to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (called the SHRC), claiming his former boss discriminates against potential tenants who have children.

Who is the Former Employee?

It is a man who does not want to be identified.

What Does He Say?

He said his former employer, Universal Realty Ltd., instructed all  staff to screen callers, including asking them how many people would be, ahem, be  living in the apartment.

“Please note that the owner of 609 Wilson Crescent would like a very strict no pet, no smoking, as well as a no children policy,” read an email dated June 18, 2012 which was sent to the man while he was still an employee of the rental company.

“When you take a call with people looking for a rental, please screen them regarding how many occupants prior to giving them information on the suites available.”

What is the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code for this?

According to the SHRC code, landlords cannot deny housing accommodations to families with children or ask for inflated rent in order to keep tenants with children out.

Is Discrimination Common?

Despite these regulations, however, discriminating against renters with kids is quite common, said Rebecca McLellan, the executive director of the SHRC.

“We know that it’s going on to a significant degree,” she said but unfortunately, it’s not an issue which many people will file a formal complaint on.

Are People Even Aware of the Law?

Many renters, and some landlords, aren’t aware of this law, said McLellan of why they receive so few complaints. She adds, however, that there are landlords who are familiar with the code, but intentionally subvert it.

“We’ve seen people who are aware of the rules but don’t like them and are willing to try and work behind the scenes to determine whether someone has children before they rent to them,” she said.

Are there any Exceptions to the Law?

McLellan notes that the only exception to the adult-only regulation is a building designated as 55 years and older.

“[Landlords] who rent exclusively to that age group, they are protected under the human rights code but once they go out of that age group, they would have to take families as well,” explained McLellan.

What Does the Owner of Universal Realty Ltd. Say?

Tom Cuelenaere, owner of Universal Realty Ltd., said he understands those rules and that his company does not discriminate against tenants with kids.

“We don’t have a policy against children or Natives or seniors or whoever.”

The owner said that sometimes owners of buildings prefer that their property remain quiet and so they ask rental companies to not rent to tenants with kids. If this happens, Cuelenaere said he will inform them that it’s illegal to do so.

“We have to say ‘well, there’s absolutely no way we can discriminate against children or any type of a person,’” said Cuelenaere.

With regards to the emails, Cuelenaere said rental companies have a right to screen potential tenants based on their ability to pay and information they receive from references.

Cuelenaere emphasized, however, that he never personally told his employees to not consider renters with kids and he will clarify the email message with them.

“I haven’t instituted any policy of this kind,” stated Cuelenaere.

So Why Did His Employee Speak Out?

The owner said the former employee who was released was likely “annoyed” with Universal Realty Ltd.  Maybe he wanted a bit of ‘revenge.’

Rent Control Hurts Tenants

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

August 3rd, 2012


Landlords and Good Government Agree Rent Control Isn’t For Saskatchewan

What’s Going On?

With all the reports of low vacancy rates and raising rents, some are saying it’s time for Saskatchewan to implement ‘Rent Control’.

Is Saskatchewan Heading for Rent Control?

At a recent meeting of landlords, it was made clear rent controls are not a good idea for our province.

Laurie Wionzek of Boardwalk Rental Communities is opposed to rent controls.  Wionzek stated her opposition is not only because it will harm landlords, but because it will hurt the everyone in the province who appreciates and desires growth and prosperity.

Did She Explain Why?

Yes. Wionzek explained rent controls will lead to landlords not being able to pay to properly maintain rental buildings.  If landlords can’t make enough money it will lead to shabby, non-maintained properties.

What Does the Government Say?

It was nice to see the Minister of Justice Don Morgan attend the meeting.  The Minister stated the government is not in favor of rent control for the province.

What About the Tenant Activists?

The tenant activist community is not as vocal in Saskatchewan as they are in Ontario and British Columbiayet.  In those provinces, tenant activists want the government to punish, fine and even jail landlords who cannot afford to maintain their buildings. In Ontario, the tenant activists have pushed rent control to ridiculous limits.

Fortunately we have a strong, pro-growth government in Saskatchewan.  Landlords only need to look at other provinces to realize how important good government is for growth and prosperity. Let’s all remember that on election day!