A Winnipeg landlord has been ordered to pay a single mom $15,000 after an adjudicator ruled she had been subjected to racist harassment.
"Much of the harassment endured by the complainant came as a result of her association with a Black man, and her carrying a biracial baby," Tracey Epp wrote in a Jan. 4 ruling on behalf for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.
The commission says the ruling affirms that a landlord cannot harass a tenant to vacate an apartment.
The case involves what Epp called "crude, humiliating, and demeaning insults" such as the use of the N-word multiple times.
Brandi Richardson alleged that her landlord, Wilma Galbraith, pushed her while she was pregnant, swore at her several times, and suggested she "find a place to live where you will be happy."
Galbraith refused to testify at the commission's hearings, and instead wrote another note to her tenant in which she denied the allegations.
The Free Press could not reach Richardson, Galbraith or her firm, Kirkwall Properties Ltd., on Tuesday.
Richardson said she moved into the apartment on Henderson Highway because it was one of the few options she could afford while raising a child and younger sister while she collected Employment and Income Assistance payments.
While Galbraith was reticent, and apparently called welfare recipients "junkies and alcoholics," Richardson eventually convinced her to accept her lease in June 2016.
Richardson testified that during the next 11 months, Galbraith called her numerous disparaging names, because she had had a child out of wedlock with a Black man.
The commission ruled that a note attributed to an anonymous neighbour had been written by Galbraith, due to similar handwriting and phrasing. The note asked her to move out for being a lying "slut."
Epp concluded that the constant insults, an attempt to collect more rent than the Residential Tenancies Branch deemed sufficient, as well as a month-long delay in repairing a broken fridge "created a poisoned tenancy that also constituted harassment."
She said the landlord was most likely trying to harass Richardson to leave the apartment.
The commission ruled Richardson had been discriminated against based on race, her family status as a single mother, her sex by virtue of being pregnant, and also due to her source of income, all of which are grounds for discrimination under Manitoba human rights legislation.
Galbraith has been ordered to pay Richardson $15,388 by Feb. 18, create an anti-harassment and discrimination policy that the commission deems suitable, and then distribute it to all her tenants.