You have the right to equal access to housing without discrimination. Discrimination means treating someone unfairly because of their identity, beliefs or background. The PEI Human Rights Act protects you from discrimination.
Your landlord cannot deny you a rental, harass you, or treat you unfairly because of your:
- Colour, race, ethnic or national origin
- Creed or religion
- Disability (including having an addiction)
- Family or marital status
- Gender expression
- Gender identity
- Political belief
- Sex (including being pregnant or sexually harassed)
- Sexual orientation
- Source of income
Your landlord also cannot discriminate against you if you filed a human rights complaint in the past.
Some examples of possible discrimination include:
- Advertising a building as “seniors-only”.
- Charging extra rent to someone who has a service animal.
- Refusing to rent to people who have children or who are expecting a child.
- Refusing to rent to someone based on where they get their income.
Human rights concerns often depend on the particular situation. Contact the PEI Human Rights Commission if you, or someone you know, has been discriminated against.
PEI Human Rights Commission: 902-368-4180 or 1-800-237-5031 and peihumanrights.ca.
You have the right to equal treatment regardless of your age. A landlord cannot deny you a rental unit because you are too young or too old.
You generally must be 18 years old to sign a contract. You may be able to sign a rental agreement if you are under 18. You must need somewhere to live and be able to pay the rent.
A landlord cannot refuse to rent to you because you are not a senior.
Family or Marital Status
A landlord cannot deny you a rental unit because you are married, single, widowed, divorced, separated or living in a common-law relationship. A landlord cannot deny you a rental unit because you have children or are expecting a child.
A landlord cannot deny you a rental unit because of your birth-assigned sex. However, a landlord can choose to only rent to individuals of the same sex in a multi-unit dwelling. For example, university dormitories or rooming houses.
Gender Identity and Expression
A landlord cannot deny you a rental unit because of your gender identity or how you express it.
Gender identity is the gender you identify as, regardless of your birth-assigned sex. Gender expression is everything you do that expresses or communicates your gender, such as your clothes, hair style, or mannerisms. In a same sex multi-unit dwelling, a person who identifies as a woman can live with women.
You cannot be discriminated against for having a disability. A disability can be physical, mental, or intellectual. Alcohol and drug addictions are also considered disabilities.
If you have trouble accessing or using your rental unit because of a disability, you have the right to ask your landlord to make some changes. Your landlord has an obligation to accommodate your request. Some common examples of accommodations include installing assist-bars in your bathroom or adding wheelchair ramps to your building.
A landlord cannot deny you a rental unit because you have a service animal. A service animal is trained to assist a person with a disability. The work performed by your service animal must be directly related to your disability.
There is no standard identification or certification process for service animals on Prince Edward Island. It is important to let your potential landlord know if you use a service animal.
Your landlord may have questions for you about your service animal. Your landlord can ask things like:
- Is the animal assisting you with a disability?
- What assistance has the animal been trained to provide related to your disability?
Your landlord should not ask questions about your disability. They should not require the service animal to demonstrate tasks they would normally help you with.
Not all animals are protected by the PEI Human Rights Act. Animals that provide comfort and companionship but are not trained to assist with your disability are not considered to be service animals.
Source of Income
A landlord cannot deny you a rental unit based on where your income comes from. Some examples of different sources of income could be:
- Social Assistance
- Employment Insurance
- Canada Pension
- Old Age Security
There is a difference between source of income and amount or level of income. For example, a landlord may decide not to rent to someone that does not have the amount of income necessary to make monthly rental payments.
A landlord cannot deny you a rental unit because you are friends or a relative of someone that identifies with one of the other grounds of discrimination.
Having filed a complaint or given evidence/assistance under the Human Rights Act
A landlord cannot deny you a rental unit because you filed a complaint or assisted someone else in filing a complaint with the PEI Human Rights Commission. People who have given evidence during a human rights investigation or panel are also protected.