OA_show('Wallpaper');
OA_show('Leaderboard - Xx90');
Choose your edition:

Search form

Gay couple denied apartment in Brampton

Gay couple denied apartment in Brampton

IMAGE 1 OF 2
Rental agent instructed not to rent to gay couples
A gay couple is filing a human rights complaint against a rental agent in Brampton after she denied them an apartment because the landlord does not want to rent the property to gay people.

After searching several weeks for an apartment, Thiago Derucio and his boyfriend, Chris Prentice, found a place using an agency called Rental Diva and called to book a time to look at the space.

When Prentice called, Juliet Stewart, the operator of Rental Diva, said the apartment was still available. When Stewart asked who would be renting it, Prentice replied that he'd be living there with his partner.

“She said, ‘You and your partner. What does that mean? Are you gay?’” Derucio says. “So he said yes.”

Stewart then told Prentice that the landlord explicitly said the apartment should not be rented to gay couples. She then ended the call.

Once the shock wore off, Derucio says, he called back. “I was pissed and hurt. So I called her back.

"When I asked if she is denying apartments to gay people, she said, ‘That’s right. My client doesn’t like gay people, and we have every right to decide who lives in the apartment and who doesn’t.'”

When Derucio reminded her there are protections in the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) to ensure landlords can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, “She said, ‘Don’t go all gay rights on me. Get off my phone.’ Then she hung up the phone on me."

Derucio says he and Prentice plan to file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

Stewart confirms that she discriminated against the couple, noting that she was only “protecting” Prentice and Derucio from a homophobic landlord. It was “too risky” for a gay couple to live in that apartment, she says.

“My clients are exempt [from the OHRC] because they are Seventh-day Adventists. They’re religious. That’s their religion,” Stewart says. “They told me that they don’t want [gay people]. Look, I’m a person of colour. I know what it’s like to be discriminated against. You can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do. There’s jobs I didn’t get. I wish someone had of told me, ‘Don’t show up because you’re black.’ I wish they would do that because I wouldn’t waste my time. That’s a part of life.”

Stewart says it’s not her place to “push [homosexuality] down their throats" and she doesn't want to risk losing the client.

“If I said anything, the client would get angry,” she says. “I don’t want to lose my contract with them for going against what they said they didn’t want.”

When informed that Prentice and Derucio plan to file a human rights complaint, Stewart replied, “So be it. If they want to go after me, go after me. I’m the messenger.”

Barbara Hall, chief commissioner of the OHRC, says a human rights complaint is very serious and could result in damages paid to the complainant.

“The code applies to all rental housing arrangements,” she says. “Housing providers offering rental opportunities to the public need to do so in a non-discriminatory way.”

Hall says the complaint could be directed at both the landlord and Rental Diva. “An agent can't rely on the fact that they’ve been told to breach the code. That doesn’t let them off the hook. They’re liable, as is the landlord.”

Once a complaint is filed, the agent and the landlord would have to submit a defence. Some cases go through a long process, others are settled along the way, Hall says. “Often when people realize how clear the law is, and realize that they really don’t have a defence, they settle it.”

If it goes to a hearing at the tribunal and the agent and landlord are found to have discriminated, they could be ordered to pay damages or take a course on human rights.

“It’s humiliating and hurtful for people who are denied their rights under the code,” Hall says. “It’s hard enough to find housing that people can afford without having that thrown at them.”

The OHRC regularly hears complaints about landlords discriminating against gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people. So many that in 2011, the OHRC published a housing policy to highlight that section of the code. 

“Fifty years ago, one of the motivators for the code in the first place was because landlords put signs outside of apartments saying, ‘No Jews,’ ‘No blacks.’ You don’t see those anymore, but there is still discrimination,” Hall says.

Comments

And it's a beautiful day . . .
This happened to me once in Vancouver. I went to rent an apartment, and the manager, a middle-aged lady, asked me, "Who will be living in it?" "Just me," I said. "Oh no," she said with finality. "Guys with guys...not in this building." I left feeling spat upon, and returned to my old digs. I hadn't been unhappy there: it was a charming old rooming house with a cool young lady manager; and a gay poet had the room under mine (we'd got it on once), but I had to share the bathroom and was just seeking a bit more privacy. After the encounter with the homo-hating manager, though, I remember walking home and feeling so helpless. There were no protections in law then and thus no one to complain to. I was 18 and the year was 1972.
Wow, amazingly stupid and ignorant
Religion is not the reason for discrimination and hate crimes, ignorance and stupidity are. Looking at history and even to this day and age some religious leaders and some religions are still keeping their worshipers in the dark/ignorant. That’s the easiest way to control a community/group of people. Look around, it is happening every day. No wonder discrimination is still around us. We live in a progressive and developed country, however that does not mean everyone is progressive and intelligent. Good luck to these two guys, Thiago and Chris, justice most prevail
Good Luck
The Ontario Human Rights Code is so weak that I wish you good luck. Listen, in Canada, we have law without teeth. There is no way for the average person to sue for discrimination, liable, malpractice, or other professional misconduct because the legal system is beyond our economic reach, or at least most of us. In many ways, Canada is a country with law, but still lawless for most.
Men in General and not Religion
Come on you guys, it has nothing to do with religion. my husband is atheist and has been all his life and does NOT accept or tolerate homosexuality at all. I also discovered that my best friend's husband is the same way & he also is not religious at all. The irony of it is that both my friend and I are the "religious" people and we both are VERY tolerant & would FIGHT for their rights. I lived in Europe, Middle East & North America and I see always that MOST heterosexual men are very intolerant when it comes to gay men. I have a feeling it has something to do with their own sexuality lol
To Thiago & Christ from SDA Member
Dearest Thiago and Chris I'm a Seventh-day Adventist myself and mostly Christian. I want to let you know that I AM ashamed from these people who claim to be Christians. As you know Jesus LOVES US ALL equally... one of my close friends is gay. I love & respect him and WILL fight for his rights whenever he needs it. Now, if you wish to take them to court etc. it's up to you. However, I'd like to share with you that the SDA church's belief does NOT in anyway support or require that couple's to do whatever they did! it is totally their own. As you might know that UNFORTUNATELY, in every religion, there are the good & the bad. I kindly ask you NOT to judge our church by that couple or the agent. Trust me, MANY of us ARE already VERY upset & ASHAMED... and that's purely because it's NOT right or even Christian. I know that MANY Christian or religious people behave same way, BUT TRUST ME it does NOT AT ALL or IN ANYWAY, reflect the character of Jesus. I think He's probably shaking His head now in disbelief & shame. A person who's FILLED with God's character, Jesus' love WOULD NEVER EVER EVERY think or behave as if he or she is better than the other because of this or that & will treat everyone with FULL Love & respect. If I were you Thiago & Christ, I wouldn't even feel bad because you have all our support, respect & love and moreover, you have the FULLLLLL love of Jesus Himself. All the best with All my/our love S.P.
Agent blew it
I think the agent blew it. She could have avoided all the fuss by letting the couple see the apartment. Then any number of reasons could have been given, chiefly credit, job, money in the bank, etc. To be so dense as to state the anti-gay reason was pretty stupid. Although the description of the agent doesn't surprise me that she was not too bright. None of which means discrimination is right; it isn't.
Juliet Stewart is not licensed.
She admitted that to The Toronto Star. If she's operating without a license then she's got even bigger problems. She needs to be reported to the proper people.
Not Surprize
I know them personally, and have a reputation of seeking attention. This is a different agenda than what is actually happening. Besides, why beat a dead horse. I have been denied apartments for different reasons. I dont make a big stink about it, cause it was just not meant to be. Why care about people that dont want you.
re: More Detail
I did some digging as to what the RTA and OHRC actually say and posted it here: http://www.veganswithtypewriters.com/blog/2012/8/5/gay-couple-denied-apartment-in-brampton-because-theyre-well.html I'm completely blown away by the overtness of the discrimination and the seeming incompetence of the rental agent. This is 2012, right? Best of luck to Chris and Thiago.
re: More detail
Kevin you're right about discrimination on any basis being allowed if its shared housing, such as renting a room or where facilities are shared like you mentioned. However in this case its a self contained apt in question and there are no shared amenities or living space at all. There's more info on it here http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1236907--couple-seeking-a-basement-apartment-refused-for-being-gay But as usual on any story dealing with LGBT people in mainstream news media read the comments with caution, the anti-LGBT bigots are always out in full force whenever such a story is in the news. Though the Star, unlike Xtra, does sanitize some comments to make it seem that anti-LGBT bigotry isn't so bad there's still plenty of bigotry on display there. Personally I wish they wouldn't do so, I think it's a good thing that such vile beliefs see the light of day. As LGBT people we're all familiar with them I'm sure but its easy for cis-hetero people to pretend that such things aren't a problem, allowing all comments would be an eye opener for many.

Pages

Sign in or Register to post comments