Tenancy regulations leave no room for autism

As a result of noise complaints, a single mom and her two children have been evicted from their Honeymoon Bay rental house.

  • Mar. 14, 2011 8:00 a.m.

Local single mom Corry Brooks

 

As a result of noise complaints, a single mom and her two children have been evicted from their Honeymoon Bay rental house.

What made these noise complaints unique is that, try as she might, mother Corry Brooks was unable to prevent her son, Tanner, 13, from screaming, jumping, and banging on walls at all times of the day and night.

“Unless I chained him down or something,” Corry said, establishing the impossibility of the situation.

Tanner has a non-verbal low-functioning level of autism.

The reason for their eviction is quite clear in the one month notice to end their tenancy, with an X marking the box next to a line reading “adversly affected the quiet enjoyment, security, safety or physical well-being of another occupant or the landlord.”

Upon receiving the eviction notice last year, Corry disputed it with the Residential Tenancy Branch, which ended up siding with the landlord.

She had hoped that they’d take into account the fact that her son is autistic.

“But, they can’t side because of a medical condition,” she said.

Luckily, the Tenancy Branch added an additional month to her tenancy, meaning the family of three, including Tanner, his twin sister Kourtney, Corry, and a dog, must find a new place to live by the end of April.

Which, Corry said, will be a challenge. As a low-income single mother, Corry said that there aren’t many homes in her price range.

“I think this area should have more affordable housing,” she said, adding that her difficult situation has her looking for a home at $800 a month, at the very highest.

Due to Tanner’s sometimes aggressive outbursts, the family must find a single family rental house, which makes the price-crunching search all the more difficult.

Having recently begun her search for a new home for her family, things aren’t looking too well.

The family of three have always lived in the Cowichan Lake area, with the threesome moving to Honeymoon Bay 11 years ago.

They’ve lived in their current house for the past two and a half years, and would like to find a place in the Cowichan Lake area, in order to remain in the community they’ve enjoyed living in for all of their lives.

“It’s cheaper than most places, and there aren’t too many places out there in my price range,” Corry said, of their financial reason for staying here.

Tanner was last featured in the Lake Cowichan Gazette in May of 2006, when he received Hunter, a two-year-old golden retriever guide dog.

“It’s supposed to help him come out of his shell,” Corry said.

Although she’s not sure whether or not Hunter has helped Tanner do so, Corry said that her son is still enjoying Hunter’s company, and spends a lot of time with his canine friend.

Money for Hunter was raised by Cowichan Lake community fund-raisers, with the dog coming from the National Service Dogs Training Centre in Toronto.

 

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