Tenant claims landlord discriminated against her for smudging

Crystal Smith of Tsimshian, Haisla First Nations has human rights complaint against Parminder Mohan

A basement suite tenant claims her landlord discriminated against her for “smudging” and has lodged a human rights complaint against him.

Crystal Smith, of the Tsimshian and Haisla First Nations, alleges her landlord Parminder Mohan discriminated against her based on her ancestry, race, place of origin and ancestry.

But Mohan says otherwise.

“Mr. Mohan seems to be taking the position that the smudging was not genuine but used to cover the use of marijuana,” B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Catherine McCreary stated in her Sept. 5th reasons for decision.

“Ms. Smith denies that this is the case.”

Smith told the tribunal she regularly smudges, a practice observed by some Aboriginal people involving the burning of purifying herbs such as sweetgrass and sage, as well as cedar, designed to ward off negative energy. But Mohan believes his tenant was burning marijuana, which Smith says she doesn’t smoke. He denies Smith’s allegations of discrimination and applied to have her complaint dismissed.

McCreary stated that she made “no findings of fact” in the case but decided not to dismiss it. She decided that “the matter will proceed to a hearing to determine the facts and whether the facts as established amount to discrimination under the Code” and added that the tribunal “will schedule the hearing as soon as possible.”

None of the claims have been proven in a hearing before the board.

READ ALSO: Cucumber picker files human rights complaint against Surrey greenhouse

READ ALSO: Ex-CFO files racism complaint against B.C. city

READ ALSO: Human rights complaint against Surrey-based DIVERSEcity to proceed

READ ALSO: Emergency dispatcher’s human rights complaint ‘not accepted for filing’

Smith is an on-call teacher working on a master’s degree in educational administration and leadership, specializing in Indigenous leadership. She told the tribunal she regularly smudges, and has been doing so for more than 13 years in keeping with her family’s culture and spiritual beliefs. She said she smudged in other residences without incident.

McCreary heard the tenant and landlord signed a residential tenancy agreement on Dec. 4, 2016 for a basement suite that is one of four rental units in a duplex Mohan owns. Among the terms listed were no smoking or drugs in the building, including medical marijuana, that “smelly foods must be cooked outside” and that the “tenant will not disturb other tenants with noise or nuisance.”

Mohan told the tribunal that the smell was “really strong” in the upstairs unit, that it made him feel sick, and that he told Smith as much. He claims she told him: “Well I’m sorry that is making you sick but sage is used for cultural purposes and I will be using it often.”

McCreary noted that Mohan “concluded that Ms. Smith did not care for his health or well-being. He said that he is not going to compromise his health.”

The tribunal heard Smith moved out on June 15, 2017 after Mohan served her with three eviction notices — the third being a two-month notice that the basement suite would need to be vacated for renovation — and refused to take any more rent cheques from her.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Metamorphosis returns to White Rock’s Memorial Park

Joan Miriam Adams’ sculpture more prominently displayed on waterfront

Senator speaks to South Surrey students

Yonah Martin visited Earl Marriott Secondary on Jan. 16

Tardi earns first victory in quest for third national title

A Langley-based junior curling team is in Prince Albert, Sask. for the Canadian championships.

VIDEO: Surrey-based business wants customers to ‘Eat the Dishes’

New business plans to be one of the ongoing vendors at KPU’s new winter market

Surrey hunter fined $10,000 after shooting a bull moose and leaving it to die

The man was convicted for three Wildlife Act offences after shooting a bull moose not in season

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

VIDEO: Giants wrap southern swing with 6-4 win in Spokane

The Lower Mainland-based hockey team defeated the Chiefs Friday night.

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read

l -->