A landlord in Canada cancelled a student’s rental agreement because she didn’t like her ‘scary’ tattoos.
Kadince Ball is a first-year student who recently travelled from Saskatchewan to London, Ontario, for Western University’s medical science course.
The 18-year-old just graduated this year, and was delighted to be going to university – but barely one step into her higher education journey, she’s already run into hassle with a landlord who took issue with her tattoos.
‘I’ve always wanted to be a doctor and medical schools are getting more competitive now, so it’s important to have a good university bachelor degree and Western is one of the top-rated ones in Canada,’ Ball told CBC.
After seeing the property in an online ad, Ball spoke to landlord Esther Lee and soon paid a $50 deposit, signed the lease and embarked on her two-day trip to London. She arrived shortly before the lease was due to officially begin on September 1, but her dynamic with Lee quickly soured after the in-person visit.
‘I don’t want you living here,’ Ball recalled Lee telling her. ‘I was like, ‘Hey, a lease has been signed, my deposit has been sent over – what is the problem?’ Every time I would ask her, ‘Why not? Is there anything I can do? Do we need to revise the lease?’ But there was nothing from her end. It was just, ‘I don’t want you living here.”
Fortunately, Ball found an apartment in the end, and her new landlord even let her move in early. Meanwhile, CBC also spoke to Lee, who explained her problems with the teen’s tattoos, made up of a snake wrapped around a flower on her forearm, a cherub on one shoulder and a flower on the other.
‘It covered almost 70% of her arm. That’s why I don’t want to rent it to her because it’s scary, so scary,’ she told the outlet. Ball said Lee’s actions left her ‘speechless… a lease was signed and because I look a certain way, I was denied tenancy. None of my tattoos are offensive. They are works of art, they are somebody’s works of art on my body’.
According to Ian Dantzer, a lawyer at the university’s Community Legal Services Clinic, Ball may have cause to sue. ‘It’s a binding contract and she’s entitled to possession… it’s a morally reprehensible act if not illegal,’ he said.
It echoes another recent story in the UK, with a metal fan denied a place to stay by an Airbnb host because of her taste in music.
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