Emerald Terrace Evictions: Since when has Owning a Pet Become a Crime?

Yesterday night, Seafield residents were shocked to learn that 11 of our neighbours and friends at Emerald Terrace, a Hollyburn building in Vancouver’s West End, had received eviction notices.

Their crime? Refusing to give up their beloved pets. The ones they have lived with for years.

Hollyburn plans to have the pet owners out by the end of February. Two of the tenants have already agreed to move out.

Show Your Support for Residents of Emerald Terrace

  • What: Press Conference with Pet Owners at Emerald Terrace
  • Who: Spencer Herbert and the residents of Emerald Terrace
  • When: Noon on Thursday, January 8, 2008
  • Where: Outside the Emerald Terrace Apartments at 2045 Nelson St.
  • Why: Media event to raise awareness and gather support

Read up about Emerald Terrace’s Fight to Date

Tenants at Emerald Terrace apartments (2045 Nelson Street) received a “No Pets Policy” notice from Hollyburn Properties around November 24, 2008. It gave the recipients of the notices — many of whom were renters’ rights activists — 14 days to find new homes for their cats or face evictions.

Every pet owner in Emerald Terrace had verbal permission from Colliers International, the previous management company of the building, to keep their pets. Even though Hollyburn (which took ownership of the building on Sept. 21, 2007) should be honouring these verbal agreements, the company insisted to tenants that they need to have written permission to keep their pets and that the building has always had a no pets policy.

Pat Maher, a resident at Emerald Terrace Apartments, had written permission to keep her cats, but was one of the first tenants to receive the “No Pets Policy” notice from Hollyburn.

Hmmm…could the fact that she’s an active member of Renters at Risk have anything to do with that? We think so.

Hollyburn later rescinded the eviction notice to Maher. Evict first, and apologize later. Two Seafield residents, Kevin and Trina, had that exact experience with Gordon Nelson Investments when they took over the Seafield last year.

With many other tenants in the building also owning cats, it seems that this arbitrary and unfair motion is harassment and intimidation on Hollyburn’s part. It is really about targeting and removing vocal tenants who stand up for renters’ rights in Vancouver from their building, and finding any excuse to get long-term tenants out in order to double rents.

Hollyburn, which holds itself in high regard for maintaining rental stock in Vancouver, is notorious in the community for renovictions, poor maintenance and generally bad treatment of their tenants.

Luckily for renters who own pets in Vancouver, many of the tenants at Emerald Terrace have chosen not to take this lying down. They filed for a joint arbitration at the Residential Tenancy Office to dispute the no-pets policy, and have their day in front of the arbitrator on January 16.

This is exactly the kind of bravery that makes positive change. We at Seafield Apartments know what it’s like to be threatened, harassed and intimidated, and we know the pressures of standing up to fight.

We wish the people at Emerald Terrace the best of luck in fighting this ridiculous situation, and hope that the change that comes of it will benefit all renters in Vancouver.

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One Response to “Emerald Terrace Evictions: Since when has Owning a Pet Become a Crime?”

  1. Outrageous! Says:

    I am amazed with this. It is a good thing for my research. Thanks

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