If Barbara Hall’s housing-rights policies are ever emulated out here in BC, you can bet that as soon as my current tenants move out, I will be shutting down my rental properties for good. I would imagine there are many in Ontario who are thinking the same thing as I am, which would engage the law of unintended consequences: a housing shortage in Ontario.
Announced with much fanfare yesterday, the new housing policy of the Ontario Human Rights Commission continues towards its ultimate goal of the abolition of private property. It is a draconian set of do’s and don’ts that crushes any remaining freedom of landlords, all in the name of fabricated human rights that bear little resemblance to the legislated Code.
The OHRC policy borrows the notion from certain 20th century ideologies that those who own much is obliged by the power of the state, i.e. at gunpoint, to provide for those who own less. Housing is now a “human right” in Canada, the OHRC says, because the UN says it is. There is nothing in the Charter, the Canadian Human Rights Act, and the Ontario Human Rights Code that makes housing a right. The Codes, (Section 6 in the CHRA, Section 2 in the OHRC) prohibit discrimination on housing, but the OHRC policy goes well beyond the prohibited categories in either Code. Notwithstanding that the Act and provincial Codes are already serious infringements on our rights and freedoms.
For example, there is nothing in any legislated statute that prohibits discrimination based on income. The OHRC adds that ground, specifying that it is prohibited to refuse accommodation based on a “30% rule”, in which it is assumed that a person can afford the house if the rent equals 30% or less than their income. Considering that banks utilize this rule when approving mortgages, will Babs be mandating the NINJNA loans that ruined the economy in the States?
Another idiotic measure is the PC-sterilization of the phrases used in rental ads. A friend of mine advertised his basement suite, stating it “suited a working person”. This is now contrary to Barb’s Code, with the newly minted made-up right not to be discriminated on the basis of employment. The reason it suits a working person is because my friend lives upstairs with three young children, and the soundproofing is not very good – ergo, it would suit a person who is away during the day.
Under the heading, “Accommodating tenant needs”, the gate is wide, wide open for anyone lucky enough to be a “protected group” to demand Taj Mahal treatment from their landlord. Just take a look at this paragraph:
Sometimes a tenant who is unwell or who disrupts others (either because of a disability or due to that person being the target of discrimination themselves) may need help. You should assess your role to see if there are things you can do as a landlord to help the situation.
Help the situation? Like turfing a “disruptive” tenant as fast as the Tenancy Act allows? No, that would be depriving a “disruptive” tenant of their human right to your property. Now it falls upon a landlord to determine if a disruptive tenant is doing so on the basis of a “protected” ground? Do they also have a duty to determine if rent non-payment is also caused by a “protected” ground, such as the new one recently invented: income?
Here’s another recipe of suicide:
Landlords have a legal duty to accommodate tenants when legitimate concerns arise based on Code grounds. If tenants have special needs related to, for example, a disability, landlords may need to make changes to units, a building entrance, sidewalks or parking areas to accommodate the tenant’s situation. These types of changes can also improve accessibility for other people, including families with small children or older persons.
This, Hall says, is subject to “recourse” under a “undue hardship” clause. But you and I know who administers that “recourse” – the OHRT – and you and I know how much sympathy they have for landlords – ranking somewhere below a rodent’s posterior. Add to that the likelihood that a landlord would get his challenge funded – zero – and the likelihood that the tenant would be represented by the taxpayer-funded CHRC – quite likely.
I could go on and on:
Some tenants need changes to rules and practices to accommodate changing family situations or religious practices.
Want to set up a prayer hut on your balcony that is an eyesore, a fire hazard, and restricts the view of others? Go ahead. Want to set up a twelve-foot satellite dish on the rooftop to catch your religious mandate of Al-Jazeera? The OHRC says you can. Are those pesky night locks getting in the way of the clients of your nocturnal “distribution” operation? Claim a changing family situation.
And, finally, discrimination is okay if you have been certified by the OHRC as “vulnerable” or “disadvantaged”.
…special programs are permitted if they would help a group of people who are disadvantaged based on Code grounds.
Straight white Christian males need not apply.
(Coming soon… the “suggested” things a Tenant must should do to advance human rights in housing)
Cross-posted at SF