A new study out of UBC shows that gay couples and single parents face significant rental discrimination in Metro Vancouver, and that that rate could be even higher in other places in Canada.
The university says the research, by sociology Prof. Nathanael Lauster, is the first to explore how that kind of discrimination varies by region. It finds gay couples are nearly 25 per cent more likely to be rejected by Metro Vancouver landlords, while single parents are about 15 per cent more likely to be turned down for a suite. Lauster is concerned because Vancouver has a reputation for tolerance of diversity and strong housing laws to protect against discrimination.
“This means that housing discrimination levels may even be higher in other cities.”
Interestingly and thankfully, the researchers found no evidence of rental discrimination against same-sex lesbian couples compared to heterosexual couples.
With regards to discrimination against gay couples, it did seem to vary by neighbourhood, with less discrimination experienced in Vancouver’s West End, for example.
Qmunity Executive Director Jennifer Breakspear, quoted in Xtra West, said she was surprised by how high the numbers were in Lauster’s study:
“We’ve long been active with government [on housing issues] with LGBT youth and LGBT seniors, but now it looks like we have to throw into the mix gay men as well. We all know Vancouver is a tight place to find a place to live…Throw in landlord bias, and you make it almost impossible.”
The study’s findings are certainly disconcerting, and I’d be interested to see further research on rental discrimination against trans people, which doesn’t seem like it was part of this study.