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Is it okay for me to refuse to rent my spare room to guys?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I recently posted an ad on Kijiji to rent out the spare room in my house. Because I’m a single woman who lives alone, I requested that only female tenants apply—I’d rather not worry about the possibility of unwanted advances or live with a stranger who can overpower me. When I told a couple of friends about it, they gave me flak and said it might even be illegal. Am I the big, bad sexist my friends say I am? —Stranger Danger, Bloor West Village

Don’t let your PC-police friends razz you. At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to come home to your house, and there’s nothing sexist about wanting a roommate who makes you feel comfortable. The law will back you up on that: according to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, landlords can filter tenants however they like—by gender, sexual orientation, age—if they’ll be sharing common spaces. Of course, a same-sex roomie doesn’t guarantee your safety. You might want to watch Single White Female to bone up.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com

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