Ontario Human Rights Tribunal finds landlord's "rent-to-income" rule discriminatory

A Human Rights Board of Inquiry has found that landlords are not permitted under new regulations to the Ontario Human Rights Code to discriminate against low-income applicants by imposing a minimum "rent-to-income ratio". Board of Inquiry Adjudicator Mary Anne McKellar was appointed to adjudicate a 1989 human rights complaint alleging that a 25% rent-to-income rule discriminates against young, single women. In her ruling, McKellar finds that the evidence shows that there is no correlation between rent-to-income ratios and risk of default.

  • Bruce Porter, Executive Director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA), who represented the claimant in the case, says that the decision is an important victory for low-income households in search of affordable housing. CERA's press release talks about the victory and a CERA article gives background to the case.

    "Low income households can’t possibly find an apartment where they would pay 25% of income on rent, so these kinds of policies simply force them into the most overpriced apartments on the market or, worse, into shelters," Porter said. "The increasing use of minimum rent to income ratios has been a significant factor contributing to the rise of homelessness, particularly among young people and families."