Landlord under fire for 'Asian only' rental ad
Published Wednesday, June 22, 2016 6:02PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 23, 2016 10:34AM PDT
A Metro Vancouver landlord is under fire for an apartment rental ad seeking “Asian only” tenants.
The Craigslist posting, advertising a three-bedroom apartment in Burnaby for $1,500 a month, was discovered by Natalie Schulz when she was looking for a place to live.
At first, Schulz didn’t notice it specified “Asian only,” and called to inquire about the apartment. She said she was surprised when the man who answered started quizzing her on her background.
“The man asked me what ethnicity I was and I asked him why that was important,” Schulz told CTV News. “He told me they had white people before and they had been partying and doing drugs.”
Looking at the ad again, she saw the controversial condition.
“I told him that’s really offensive. He should be ashamed of himself,” Schulz said.
Yi Zhou told CTV News he posted the ad on behalf of the landlord, who doesn’t speak much English. He said the reason the owner was seeking an Asian tenant was to avoid a language barrier.
“There was white people partying every day and doing drugs, that guy couldn’t communicate with him,” Zhou said. “From that moment the owner said maybe just find Asian people so he can talk to them.”
Zhou apologized to anyone who might have been offended by the ad, and said the way it was written was a mistake.
“I realize this ad is not good,” he said.
The ad is no longer on the site. Zhou says he took it down because Schulz said it raised concerns, but the suite was rented to an Asian tenant the next day. There are still several other ads like it on Craigslist.
According to human rights experts, the ads aren’t illegal – but acting on them is.
“What’s illegal is if you deny somebody the right to rent based on their ethnicity or their race. That is illegal,” said Robyn Durling of the B.C. Human Rights Clinic.
Such ads could also be used as evidence if a landlord does discriminate against a potential tenant, Durling added.
Though B.C.’s human rights legislation bars tenancy discrimination, there are exceptions. People looking for a roommate are allowed to specify who they want to live with, provided they’ll be sharing sleeping, bathroom or cooking space.