Emerald Terrace Residents face Hollyburn in Court Today

Seafield Apartments residents found this article in the Province today. Emerald Terrace residents will be fighting landlord Hollyburn Properties at the Residential Tenancy Office today over the eviction notices they were issued over owning pets.

By Kent Spencer

The Province

Seven tenants of a West End apartment block who are being told to get rid of their beloved pets or be evicted are taking their case to the B.C. Tenancy Branch Friday.

On Dec. 2, Hollyburn Properties, an apartment rental company, ordered seven tenants of the Emerald Terrace on Nelson Street to remove their pets.

When they didn’t comply, eviction notices were served for Feb. 28.

Emerald tenant Andrew Simmons, a cat owner who is organizing the tenants’ fight, said the dispute “has nothing to do with cats.”

“Hollyburn likes to get long-term renters out so it can jack up the rents,” he claims. “They’ve motivated us to fight.”

“Pets have thoughts and feelings. They’re just like little people. You can’t abandon them,” said Simmons, who is also facing eviction.

Tenant June MacGregor called the eviction notices “heart-wrenching.

“It’s your home. It’s the place where you come to feel safe. Your whole being is threatened,” she said.

Four of the tenants are senior women: MacGregor, 79, with cat Inspector Clouseau; Mary Milligan, 81, with Niko; Betty Roline, 73, with Dusty; and Ann Merchant, 67, with Sheba.

The tenants have lived in the building an average 11 years.

All had verbal agreements to keep pets before the no-pets policy introduced when Hollyburn purchased the property 17 months ago.

The company says it won’t honour verbal agreements.

Hollyburn general manager Allan Wasel said the policy is due to “potential health risks associated with animals, such as allergic reactions.”

He said such reactions can sometimes be fatal.

Hollyburn Properties, a large apartment rental company, has been the subject of numerous complaints to the Residential Tenancy Branch.

“Tenants are absolutely scared of Hollyburn,” said Christine Ackermann, part of an action group called Renters at Risk Campaign.

Ackermann said buildings where Hollyburn tenants have been evicted include the Glenmore on Barclay, the Windsor on Barclay, the Casa Del Vandt on Cardero, the Nicola Place on Nicola, the Carlton on Burnaby Street and the Bay Tower on Harwood Street.

Hollyburn declined further comment.

In 1992, the B.C. Human Rights Council ordered Hollyburn to pay $20,000 for wrongfully dismissing two building managers.

The company was founded by Stephen Sander, a refugee who fled India decades ago.

From humble beginnings in the 1960s, Sander built the Vancouver company into a 1990s powerhouse worth an estimated $170 million.

At that time, Hollyburn owned 23 residential apartment buildings.

Sander was born Sukhwant Singh in 1934 in a part of India that is now Pakistan.

He was taken to court by Revenue Canada in 1991 for allegedly understating his personal income by $1.1 million.

A judge later dismissed the charges, saying there was an unreasonable delay in the prosecution of the case.

Hollyburn’s current directors are Sander family members Paul Sander and Mark Sander.

Check out the latest development in the Emerald Terrace pet eviction story.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply