Letters  

Renters with a disability

Four years ago my life changed forever, I went from being a successful full time business professional to being home with illness and disability. I was in the process of buying a home when my health suddenly deteriorated. Instead of spending my down payment on a home I spent it on medical expenses. Disability occurs in 20% of the population, you can’t control it. This could happen to you as easily as it happened to me.

It recently took me four months of serious daily housing searches to find a reasonable rental home because once I disclosed that I am on disability landlords stopped returning my messages. Many rental advertisements online state “must be employed”. I have called the Landlord Tenant Act, the Privacy Commission, and the Freedom of Privacy and Information, they all said I am not required to disclose my disability status but I believe it is in the best interest of having a good relationship with my landlord to be open and honest.

Landlords need to know: It is illegal to discriminate against a tenant because they have a disability or are receiving disability or pension income. If you have concerns about a tenants ability to pay rent you request ‘proof of income’ and a credit check. You also call references and confirm payment history.

Everyone needs to educate themselves. I absolutely understand and respect a landlords right to be choosy about who lives in their home but whether or not a person has a disability has no relevance on their ability to be a respectful and responsible tenant. References are to verify the history and character of a prospective tenant but none of the landlords I contacted checked any of my references.

Examine your bias. You never know who will be the best tenant you ever had.

Angela Holmes



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