April 8, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - New legislation that provides many roomers and boarders with rights equivalent to those of tenants is being applauded by the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission.
"Roomers and boarders include some of the poorest and most vulnerable New Brunswickers, so it is important that they be better protected by our legal system," said Gordon Porter, commission chair.
"While the Human Rights Act was amended in 2005 to prohibit discrimination based on social condition, this only addressed a small part of the disadvantage faced by poor New Brunswickers," he said. "It is encouraging that the government has now proclaimed these amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, which will improve the protections available to roomers and boarders. We have had complaints that were real and affected people badly. However our human rights law did not permit us to act. This legislation will help."
Under amendments that came into effect on April 1, roomers and boarders are now included in the Residential Tenancies Act. They can be evicted only under certain circumstances, and they have the right to have a lock on their door, for example. Still, there are several cases when the act does not apply, including when the owner shares a washroom or kitchen with the roomer or boarder.
The Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment, housing and services based on 14 personal characteristics, including social condition. Social condition means social or economic disadvantage based on source of income, occupation or level of education.
A person may file a complaint with the commission if he or she is refused a room in a rooming house or an apartment because he or she receives income assistance.
MEDIA CONTACT: Francis Young, human rights officer, New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, 1-888-471-2233.