Discrimination and Rental Housing

In the News

Finding rental housing can be hard, especially if you keep getting turned down. As a general rule, landlords can choose their tenants. But they can’t refuse to rent for discriminatory reasons.

Discrimination is illegal  

A landlord can’t refuse you based on the kinds of discrimination listed in Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Here are examples of discrimination listed in the Charter:

  • civil status (a person’s family situation – being single, having children, etc.)
  • ethnic or national origins  
  • social situation (receiving government assistance, having a stable job for at least two years, etc.)
  • age
  • sexual orientation

Examples of discrimination

There are many examples of courts finding that landlords discriminated:  

Civil status

A representative of the landlord refused to rent to a mother of two young children. The landlord had a policy of not accepting children younger than 10.  

Ethnic or national origins  

A landlord refused to rent to someone of Tunisian origins. The man asked to see the rental housing. The landlord lied, saying it was already rented after seeing the man’s name on the screen of his phone.


A landlord refused to rent to an 18-year-old woman due to past bad experiences with younger tenants.  

What you can do if you are a victim

You can file a complaint with the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (human rights commission). The Commission will decide if it can investigate your complaint. The process is free.

To learn more, see our article Housing: No Discrimination Allowed.