Human rights complaint against Whitehorse landlord thrown out

1 / 3
Human rights complaint against Whitehorse landlord thrown out

A Whitehorse landlord is happy after the Yukon Human Rights Commission dismissed a former tenant's complaint against her.

The tenant, Candice Pauch, filed the complaint in 2015 saying her rights were violated by the landlord of her Riverdale apartment, Anne Pittens. Pauch claimed Pittens systematically harassed her, entered her unit without due notice, and falsely accused her of smoking pot. 

Pauch said she has severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder and that Pittens failed to accommodate her disabilities. She claimed Pittens' "harassment" instead caused her to relapse, harming herself by acting out her OCD behaviours, and ultimately, moving out.

She asked for $8,700 in damages.

Pittens argued that she was never aware of Pauch's mental illness, and even if she were, she would not have acted differently. She admits to entering Pauch's unit without notice but said she had to act because other tenants were complaining about the smell of marijuana. 

'Thanks for coming to the party'

After more than a year of looking into the case, the human rights commission dismissed the case. Pittens says she received a letter from the commission a few weeks ago.

She's pleased, but also frustrated that she had to hire a lawyer for what became a long, drawn-out process. She says it would have been cheaper for her to settle with Pauch, but felt it was important to stand up for what's right. 

"We were in fact doing our best to protect the rights of all the tenants who call Kontiki apartments home," she said.

"I don't think it's fair for the people who are accused and found to be not guilty. And we have no recourse — we just swallow the cost and go home when 'sorry, there is a couple years of your life that we have impacted and thanks for coming to the party.'"

Pittens also says there have been some positive things that came out of this, for her. 

She changed the lease terms in regards to smoking pot in the building. She says tenants who can legally use pot for medical reasons must smoke on their balcony of their apartment.  Those with physical disabilities can instead purchase an air filtration system.

Candice Pauch was not available for comment.