|Tenants > Last Resort Remedies > Apply to the BC Human Rights Tribunal
If you are a tenant in a rental complex suffering from unwanted second-hand smoke, you may have grounds to claim your condition as a disability under the Human Rights Code. The Human Rights Code does not define physical disability, but traditionally Tribunals have given a broad interpretation of “disability”.
A tenant who suffers from a disability that is exacerbated by second-hand smoke, such as asthma or allergies, could take the position that the landlord has a responsibility to limit or ban smoking in order to accommodate the tenant’s disability. You may consider applying to the BC Human Rights Tribunal if you think that you are being discriminated against regarding a service customarily available to the public or with respect to tenancy, or both, contrary to sections 8 and 10 of the Human Rights Code. For further information, see legal opinion.
We know of one case where a tenant with a disability living in a public housing complex applied to the Tribunal claiming discrimination for failure of the landlord to eliminate the smoke or provide her with smoke-free housing. We are also aware of a group of tenants in another public housing complex who have applied to the Tribunal as a group seeking accommodation from the landlord to provide them with smoke-free housing.
Be aware that if you choose this route, it can be a long and time-consuming journey. You can apply for legal representation, but there is no guarantee that you will be provided with free representation. View Tools & Resources for a list of organizations that may assist you if you are considering this route.