Decision by Hollyburn to Evict Lynne Stevens “Purely Business”

Report from Peter Grainger
Ctvbc.ca

Lynne Stevens, who has been renting a West End suite with Hollyburn Properties for 41 years was told to move out, the company saying it needs her apartment at Emerald Terrace on Nelson Street and one other unit as caretaker suites. May 10, 2010.

A Vancouver property company under fire for trying to evict an 82-year-old cancer patient says its decision was “purely business” — but the agency is also evicting another tenant in the same building.

On Friday, Lynne Stevens, who has been renting a West End suite with Hollyburn Properties for 41 years was told to move out, the company saying it needs her apartment at Emerald Terrace on Nelson Street and one other unit as caretaker suites.

“It was a horrendous shock,” Stevens told CTV News. “I’m completely devastated, completely stressed out.”

But Stevens isn’t alone.

Andrew Simmons, a fellow resident who has lived in the building for 15 years, is also reeling from news he’s also being evicted from his apartment.

He is devastated.

“Emerald Terrace is the first building I’ve lived in where most of the neighbours know each other.”

Simmons doubts the reason given by the management company, saying there are at least half a dozen suites that could be used instead of his if they need another unit for a manger.

“They’ve repeatedly told Lynne there are no vacancies — but we have physical evidence to show there are vacancies.”

There are currently rental signs outside the building advertising suites for rent. Suites in the building currently start at about $1,350 a month.

After being turned away from its head office in West Vancouver, a representative for Hollyburn Properties phoned CTV reporter Peter Grainger — and suggested the company needs both suites for resident managers.

Grainger asked if two managers were needed in the building.

“There are two managers – yes,” an employee who identified himself as Aaron said. “One of the resident managers is in training.”

In a statement emailed Monday afternoon the company said issuing the eviction notice “was purely a business decision.”

“It made the most sense to put our new resident manager and resident managers in training in the suites where the suits rent for the lowest price,” the statement said.

But Andrew Simmons doesn’t agree.

“It’s interesting that they’re choosing apartments with nice views and they’re not choosing apartments that have lower rent than mine,” he said.

Lynne Steven’s has filed a formal complaint with the province’s residential tenancy branch. She’s currently fighting ovarian cancer, and many of her supporters believe a move now is a health risk.

“There’s been a huge outpouring of support for Lynne Steven’s with Emerald Terrace. People are outraged,” said Vancouver MLA Spencer Herbert, a longtime champion for renters rights in the city’s West End.

Emerald Terrace is the same rental building where Hollyburn threatened to evict 10 cat owners in 2009.

Those tenants took their case to the province’s residential tenancy board and won.

Check out the Seafield’s story about Emerald Terrace pet owners winning the right to keep their pets!

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