40-year-old Angela Coates has multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable disease that leads to fatigue, numbness, muscle spasms and difficulty walking.
Despite being diagnosed in 2002, she was doing pretty well until a few weeks ago.
“I woke up one morning and I couldn’t move my legs, I was mortified,” says Coates.
Angela ended up in hospital for two weeks before returning home. With her legs still feeling like jell-o, she says she asked her manager if she could bring her scooter from the basement to her suite to help her move around. She says her building manager told her “no.”
“Because the carpets will get dirty, that’s the reason that they gave me,” says Coates.
Angela’s sister, Alisa, went to the manager and building owner and says she was told the exact same thing.
“I talked to the manager who told me the reason they won’t allow scooters is because they get the carpets dirty, so I contacted the building owner who said he would not allow the scooter and that she should move and find a new place,” says Alisa Warner.
The building manager at the Regency Place in Maple Ridge argues it was in the tenancy agreement that Angela signed. It says “no shopping carts, bikes or motorized scooters are allowed in the hallways, elevators or suites.”
The manager of the building says she’s been told to “leave the issue.”
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“Oh this crap is coming up, isn’t it?” says the manager. “We have been told to leave it. It was our call before we had it, and we had mud everywhere and bumps in the wall.”
For the time being, Angela struggles to get to the basement so she can use her scooter to get groceries or go out for a visit, but she worries about the next time she loses the feeling in her legs.
“I am hoping to bring my scooter so I can enjoy life and see friends and do shopping,” says Coates.
The registrar at the B.C. Human Rights Commission says the landlord has a duty to accommodate people like Angela and there is definitely potential for a complaint.