Single Montreal mother, son with autism receive eviction notice days before Christmas

Click to play video: 'Plateau family served eviction notice for the holidays'
Plateau family served eviction notice for the holidays
WATCH: A single mother and her son with autism have been living in an apartment in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal borough for the past eight years, but received an eviction notice before the holidays. – Dec 27, 2019

A single mom living in the Plateau area of Montreal says she got some very bad news just before Christmas.

She’s being evicted from the apartment she and her son with autism have occupied for the past eight years.

“It completely ruined our holidays,” said Rose Forsos.

“It ruined everything.”

The mother, who has lived in an apartment on Villeneuve Avenue with her 10-year-old son, says it took years to find the services he needs in the neighbourhood.

“I’m a single mother,” she said. “My son is severely handicapped with autism; he attends a specialized school in the area, which is the only one in Quebec.”

The eviction letter came just a few days before Christmas. It said the new owner of the building has decided repossess her apartment when her lease expires June 30th, because he wants to live in the unit.

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“This person is very wealthy, his family owns several buildings in the Plateau,” Forsos said.

“There’s other options for him, so I don’t see the need for him to take over the apartment of a severely autistic child.”

A building owner is allowed to repossess a unit with six months’ notice, but housing in the Plateau is in high demand.

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“Vacancy rate in the Plateau is less than two per cent,” she said.

“To find a comparable apartment in my price range around here is practically impossible.”

Forsos said she tried to explain to the owner how hard it would be on Noah if they were forced to relocate.

“Leaving the neighbourhood would be changing schools, changing daycare, removing all the services I fought for my son to get for years and years,” she explained.

Click to play video: 'Parents of autism children rally in Belleville against delayed ‘Needs Based Autism program’'
Parents of autism children rally in Belleville against delayed ‘Needs Based Autism program’

Building owner Parsa Peyrow, however, says he’s acting within his rights.

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“What I’m doing is very straightforward, by the books,” he told Global News. “I have nothing to hide. It’s nothing illegal.

“I’m just her landlord. For any problems like electric, plumbing, a leak for the ceiling, that’s my responsibility. Anything other than that I wont be able to comment on.

“I don’t feel it’s really my job.”

Forsos says she’s not the only one being evicted from the building. They didn’t want to do an on-camera interview, but her upstairs neighbours told Global News they had also received an eviction notice.

They said their letter explained the owner wants to do renovations.

The building owner refused to comment when asked about renovation-related evictions.

“It’s a different situation for them and I’d rather not comment on that,” he said.

A city spokesperson said the Plante administration was “concerned” about such situations, that affordable housing is one of its priorities, and that they encourage tenants to seek support from the Regie de Logement.

Forsos has 30 days to launch a challenge to the repossession.

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“I didn’t even want to open presents because we need to save money for legal fees which is a big concern,” she said. “I’m hoping the Regie de Logement will stand by [handicapped] persons’ rights.”

She’s created a GoFundMe page to raise money to hire a lawyer. She says her goal is to help all handicapped people get stronger housing rights.

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