BC Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a discrimination complaint by a North Vancouver woman who illegally operated a hostel in her townhouse in the City of North Vancouver by advertising it on websites such as booked.net and Airbnb.
In a decision this Wednesday, the Tribunal said the issue had been dealt adequately in the courts and a proper remedy would be for her to appeal the court’s decision rather than come to the Tribunal.
At one time, Emily Yu rented as many as 15 beds in her unit through Airbnb, and refused to comply with her strata bylaws that prohibited this practice. The strata filed an application at the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) which ordered Yu to stop using the unit for short-term rentals, which she advertised as Oasis Hotel or Oasis House.
The CRT noted that the City of North Vancouver had also repeatedly ordered Yu to stop renting out her unit for short-term rentals, and it upheld a weekly fine of $200 for noncompliance. It was also found that she was operating a pet-sitting business from her unit, which was in contravention of the strata bylaw. CRT found the medical evidence she submitted didn’t support her need to have more than two dogs. She was fined $100 per week for non-compliance.
Despite the CRT order, Yu continued to rent. She tried to appeal the order but that appeal was denied by the BC Supreme Court. She was eventually fined $5,000 after being found in contempt of court for not following the tribunal’s order to stop renting out her townhome.
Yu argued that she had disabilities that required her to rent out her unit and enforcing the strata would contravene the Human Rights Code. She submitted an affidavit as part of a psychological assessment, and claimed she wanted an exemption from rental bylaw due to the disabilities. The court, however, rejected those arguments.
“There is insufficient evidence to come to conclusion that she suffers from the kind of mental disability that would permit an accommodation in the sense that the Human Rights Code refers to it,” the court ruled in April last year.
Yu didn’t appeal that BC Supreme Court decision, but rather filed a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal, asking to grant her an exemption for rental bylaw and withdraw all fines against her.
The Tribunal refused to listen to her appeal, saying the matter had been dealt adequately by both the Civil Resolution Tribunal and the BC Supreme Court.
“The court addressed and dismissed those arguments. To allow this complain to proceed would require the parties to litigate, yet again, the same issues in a different forum,” Tribunal member Devyn Cousineau said.
The Tribunal noted that Yu was essentially asking it to judicially review the court’s decision—a power it doesn’t have.
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