What Should You Do If You've Suffered Discrimination While House-Hunting?


If you're currently in the process of shopping for a new (or new-to-you) home, you're likely very excited about getting a fresh start in a new location. However, nothing can put a damper on this process more quickly than the realization that you are being profiled or discouraged from making a purchase offer because of your race, sex, age, children, or another immutable factor. What are your rights if you feel you've suffered from housing discrimination? Read on to learn more about Ontario's laws governing this important topic.

What is housing discrimination? 

Although homeowners wishing to sell are allowed to reject purchase offers for many reasons -- for example, the amount offered is too low or the time to closing is too long -- rejecting a purchase offer for blatantly discriminatory reason is illegal.

Discriminatory reasons for rejecting a purchase offer may include the following:

  • Your race
  • Your age
  • Your ethnicity 
  • Your religion or religious practices
  • Your marital status
  • Your children
  • Your sexual orientation; or
  • Your disability. 

These protected categories do not apply only to the offer process -- discrimination at any point during the listing, open house, or sale process is illegal under Ontario law. For example, a real estate agent is not permitted to post a sale ad that requests only potential buyers of a certain race or religion. 

What should you do if you feel you've been discriminated against? 

Although housing discrimination can be a humiliating and infuriating situation, there are resources to help assist you.

Your first step should be to contact an experienced real estate attorney in your area. Although real estate attorneys generally deal with the nuts and bolts of home sale transactions, they are also well-versed in consumer protection laws dealing with real estate. Your attorney will be able to help guide you in gathering evidence of discrimination and determining your best course of action.

In some cases, your attorney may be able to force the sale of the house to you if the purchase amount and other requirements of the transaction are fulfilled. In other situations, you may be able to receive monetary damages from the seller for your trouble and emotional pain and suffering.

In addition to consulting with an attorney, you may also want to contact the Ontario Ministry Of Consumer Affairs. This governmental body deals with a variety of housing and consumer issues, including housing discrimination. If enough complaints of discrimination are lodged against a specific real estate agent or homeowner, this ministry may investigate and take corrective action -- in addition to any outcome that may result from your legal claim. For more information, contact Hilborn & Konduros Law Firm or a similar organization.


24 March 2015

File Chapter 7, and Keep Your Home

Many people assume that when they file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they will have to give up their homes and other property. This is not necessarily the case. I am a bankruptcy attorney, and I have helped many clients file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy without giving up homes, cars, and other property. When you file for bankruptcy, the property you are allowed to keep depends on your individual circumstances and the state where you live. Most states allow exemption for property you are currently paying for. This blog will guide you through that information and help you determine if filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right choice for you.