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BC human rights tribunal rules landlord discriminated against gay man and two-spirited roommate

Orders him to pay former renters $15,000 each in landmark decision

The BC Human Rights Tribunal says a West Vancouver landlord discriminated against a gay man and his two-spirited roommate on the grounds of sexual orientation, disability and income source.

As a result, Michael John Moody, 75, was ordered Dec 22 to pay Edmond Bro and Keith Scott $15,000 each.

Bro and Scott testified they were subjected to homophobic slurs, attacks on their income sources and violence from Moody and his son Guy.

In their testimony, both Bro and Scott said they have HIV and receive Canada Pension Plan and provincial disability benefits.

Bro testified the situation has caused him depression, which has led to complications with his anti-retroviral medication. He also testified he felt vulnerable, betrayed and victimized.

“Scott testified that Mr Moody used hateful words as bullets to wound, shoot down their self-esteem and demean their character,” tribunal member Lindsay Lyster wrote in her decision.

She called Moody’s behaviour “vicious and mean-spirited.”

“The impact of these events has been devastating for both complainants,” Lyster stated in the decision.

Bro and Scott had been roommates for about 10 years when they decided to move out of the city in 2006 to focus on healing and to work with animals.

They testified they disclosed their HIV status but not their sexual orientations to Moody before entering a tenancy agreement in October 2006.

They testified that Moody had agreed to fix problems at the property prior to them moving in. However, the repairs weren’t done, and they couldn’t contact Moody, Lyster wrote in her decision.

Moody finally arrived Feb 2, 2007 when only Bro was home, a violation of the Residential Tenancy Act, Lyster stated.

A rotting handrail on the deck fell apart as Bro showed it to Moody, Lyster noted in the decision.

When he told Moody it was dangerous, Bro testified, Moody became belligerent.

He testified Moody said, “if that was how you and your fairy faggot friend feel, you can move out.”

“Moody told him that he wasn’t going to do the repairs and that ‘you fags’ were to move out,” Lyster further stated in the ruling.

Bro testified Moody then pushed his way into the house and pushed him against a bookcase, causing him to fall.

“Moody stormed in the house, declaring it was his house and he could do whatever the hell he wanted,” Lyster wrote. “He continued to refer to the complainants as ‘faggots,’ ‘assholes’ and ‘queers,'” Lyster further stated.

Bro testified that he called the police, who escorted Moody off the property and told him not to return without a police escort.

In a later statement to police, Moody claimed that Bro had “made up a story of assault” and was “violently abusive to me, out of control and mentally impaired,” Lyster noted in the ruling.

In her decision, Lyster called the situation entirely unprovoked.

Scott had returned home, and an hour or two later, Moody returned with a police officer who had caught him speeding on the way back to the house despite the earlier warning, Lyster stated.

Moody was returning to evict them, a notice which was later set aside by the Residential Tenancy Office (RTO), Lyster further noted.

However, the conflict did not end there.

As Bro and Scott attempted to pay the son, Guy, the March 2007 rent, he served them with another eviction notice and called them “buttfuckers,” Lyster stated in the judgment. They took the rent to the senior Moody’s home, taking a witness with them, she added.

A month later, they called for police to escort them to pay the rent at Moody’s house. There, Lyster stated in her decision, the son hit Scott with a steel pipe, which required that he receive paramedic treatment.

Both father and son hurled anti-gay epithets at the men who ran to get the police officers, Lyster noted in the ruling.

The officers told Bro and Scott that Moody had referred to them as “faggots” and “flying fairies,” Lyster further stated.

Lyster called the attack unprovoked.

No charges were laid in either incident.

At the RTO, the elder Moody was ordered to make the repairs and to pay Scott and Bro $6,147.94 for loss of use and quiet enjoyment of the property, as well as other costs.

In those hearings on Apr 17, 2007, Moody called Bro and Scott “fairies,” “faggots,” “liars” and “professional rent dodgers,” Lyster stated.

Moody also said police would not respond to their calls because they had AIDS and “they don’t want to be infected by you,” Lyster noted in the ruling.

He refused to pay, Lyster further stated, and Scott and Bro took the matter to provincial court. Outside one hearing, Moody saw Scott and said “Hello, faggot,” Lyster said in the judgment, adding that Moody then thrust his briefcase into Scott’s crotch.

Scott grabbed him, told him not to speak to him that way, then tried to leave through some locked doors, Lyster noted. Moody kicked him in the groin, she further stated.

The situation degenerated, and Bro had to pull the men apart, Moody saying, “You fags will never be able to beat me,” Lyster wrote in the decision.

Sheriffs and police arrived, and Moody was held overnight on a failure-to-appear warrant from a previous hearing on the matter.

In February 2007, Bro was rushed to hospital with a stroke, which he and Scott attribute partially to the stress of dealing with Moody, Lyster said in the ruling.

“This might have been Mr Moody’s property, but it was their home,” Lyster wrote in the judgment.

In the end, Scott and Bro agreed to move out Apr 30, 2007 “because they were fearful for their lives and for their animals,” Lyster stated.

In her ruling, Lyster said she found Bro and Scott to be truthful and reliable.

“Each of them was prepared to admit the limits of their recollection… and to acknowledge certain conduct on their part which might have been considered to be against their interests,” she wrote in the decision.

Their evidence went unchallenged.

Moody failed to appear at the Dec 22 hearing. A notice to him was sent back with “Return to Sender” on it.

“On the facts before me, no defence is possible,” Lyster concluded.