Montreal

Human Rights Commission acting for renters

The Quebec Human Rights Commission says apartment hunters in the province are facing more and more discrimination. It says landlords are making it difficult for people on low incomes and people with children to find a place.

The Quebec Human Rights Commission says apartment hunters in the province are facing more and more discrimination. It says landlords are making it difficult for people on low incomes and people with children to find a place.

The Commission says it's seen a huge increase in complaints from apartment hunters all over the province. In the last two years, the number of open case files has increased by 61 per cent.

"That's a new phenomena calling for a serious and profound reflection of all of us," says the Commission's president, Pierre Marois.

Marois says evidence of this discrimination can be found in the classified ad sections of newspapers.

Many ads read 'ideal for couple' because many landlords are afraid that children are too noisey.

Montreal cab driver Laeed Medad hates apartment hunting. The Algerian-born father of four says it took him four months to find his current apartment.

"The first question the owner asks is 'how many person are you?'. If they know you have kids they say 'no the apartment is just rented'.

The discrimination is made worse by the fact that the vacancy rate is less than one per cent in Montreal.

The Commission is launching an action plan. It's calling landlords and telling them that this kind of discrimination is illegal, and that they can be prosecuted and fined.

The Commission is also calling newspaper classified sections and telling them to warn their clients in advance that they can't place ads with these kinds of restrictions.

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