Landlords take note of transgender case

by Grainne Burns26 May 2014

A disgruntled tenant has suggested that landlords are discriminating against transgender renters.

The Landlord and Tenant Board have been heavily criticized for its role in a controversial case that has raised concern and debate amongst investors.

An Ontario-based tenant argued that her relationship with her landlord changed when he found out she was transgender. Sophia Banks claims that her landlord increased her rent, and then issued an eviction notice.

She stayed on at the unit, maintaining that the eviction was illegal because the landlord hadn’t filed formal notice with the Landlord and Tenant Board. The board found in favour of the landlord. 

Speaking to CREW, barrister Mark Weisleder says the landlord did everything right.

“It makes no difference what gender the tenant happens to be. A landlord’s eviction application must succeed on its own. In this case, the reason appears to have been that the landlord required the unit for their own use, which is permitted under the Act. The adjudicator appears to have accepted the landlord’s position.”

However, it is the treatment of the board to the tenant that has stirred a hot-bed of debate. Banks claimed that adjudicator referred to her as a man and the subsequent mediator also misgendered her.

Heavily criticized by social and justice groups, the board said they are looking to strengthen their “existing training on human rights and inclusion.”

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