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Single mom says landlords turning her away because her autistic son has service dog


After six long months of searching for a new home, Isabelle Leblanc says time is running out.

The single mother says she's been rejected dozens of times because her five-year-old son with autism has a service dog.

She separated from her children's father two years ago and lives with her mom but is looking for a place to call her own.

Her son, Olivier, lives with autism and Mishka, the service dog, is vital. Leblanc says he can hit her or break things when he is in crisis, but Mishka calms him down.

For six months, she's been searching for a rental place in Terrebonne, Repentigny, and the Lachenaie areas, but says she always gets turned away because of the dog.

"The market is just so difficult for tenants," said Margaret van Nooten of Project Genesis, non-profit organization that helps tenants know their rights.

Van Nooten says times are very tough for all renters, especially ones with animals.

"Touching letters signed by all the neighbours saying the dog is good but the landlord will still pursue an eviction," she said.

Leblanc says the rental board told her that while service animals are permitted in public spaces and rental places, it's still up to the landlord's discretion.

"Landlords get to call the shots and aren't always reasonable and needing a service animal is such a basic thing for many people and we do have people complaining that their service animal or emotional support animal is impeding them from finding housing," Leblanc said.

Both say the rental board should review the pet rules.

Van Nooten recommends tenants have their paperwork to prove their service animal is trained. Leblanc has that but never got to show it because every landlord she spoke to said no, as time is running out. Top Stories

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