Smell of pot smoke at centre of Yukon Human Rights Commission complaint
Whitehorse woman alleges landlord harassed and falsely accused her of drug use
A Whitehorse woman says her rights were violated by a landlord who systematically harassed her and falsely accused her of smoking pot.
Candice Pauch has complained to the Yukon Human Rights Commission and is seeking $8,700 in damages.
Pauch's written complaint to the commission details her struggles with mental illness and how she was repeatedly traumatized by Anne Pittens, the landlord of her Riverdale apartment. According to her complaint, Pauch has severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post traumatic stress disorder, stemming from a past abusive relationship.
"It just got to the point where the anxiety and stress it was causing me just made me leave," Pauch said. "And that's what she wanted anyways."
Pauch alleges that Pittens repeatedly came to her door, accusing her of smoking marijuana and asking to be let in to verify. One time, Pittens entered the apartment without giving the 24 hours notice required by Yukon's Landlord and Tenant Act.
"When she's not following certain things, like 24 hours notice policies and knocking on the door, it triggers my anxiety which she had no respect for," Pauch said. She denies smoking pot.
'A field of pot smoke'
Pittens says Pauch's human rights complaint is groundless.
"I would like to see the whole thing go away, because I believe that there is no complaint. I believe there was no discrimination," Pittens said.
She said she was never aware of Pauch's mental illness, and even if she were, she would not have acted differently. She admits to entering Pauch's unit without notice but said she had to act because other tenants were complaining about the smell of marijuana.
"I made the call that it was an emergency, that I had a duty to protect the rights of the other tenants," Pittens said.
"For those young families going in and having to have their kids and babies and parents walk through a field of pot smoke every time they went into their home is not an acceptable situation."
The Yukon Human Rights Commission is reviewing Pauch's complaint, to determine whether it warrants a full investigation.