Emerald Terrace Residents Win Right to Keep Homes and Pets

Seafield residents learned today that residents of Emerald Terrace will be able to keep their homes and their pets!

The Residential Tenancy Branch found that the seven cat owners at Emerald Terrace on Nelson Street did not breach a “material part of their tenancy agreement”, despite having verbal rather than written permission to keep their animals.

Dispute Resolution Officer S. Okada wrote: “The notices to end tenancy are cancelled, with the effect that the tenancies continue.”

Andrew Simmons, a pet owner and resident of Emerald Terrace, thinks that the decision will have positive implications for other pet owners.

“We’ve brought this to people’s attention. We’ve shown they can fight it,” he said in an interview with the Province.

Emerald Terrace residents were served eviction notices by landlord Hollyburn Properties on January 6, 2009. Hollyburn Properties, which acquired 2045 Nelson Street about a year and a half ago, said that residents (who had owned pets in the building for years) required written permission to keep their pets. Hollyburn decided to apply this policy more than a year after they purchased the building.

Residents had verbal agreements from their previous building manager to keep their pets – agreements that Hollyburn should have honoured. Instead, the property management company chose to issue the tenants eviction notices for failing to comply with their policy.

Tenants said Hollyburn had to have known about the pets because they had inspected suites in the building on several occassions for maintenance and the installation of new devices.

In addition, Hollyburn Properties claimed that the pets were hazardous to people’s health, but no evidence was provided to support their claim, said Simmons.

Tenants of the building maintained that this incident wasn’t really about “allergies to pets” as Hollyburn claimed, but was instead a ploy to evict longer-term tenants in order to increase rents.

Residents and Hollyburn Properties went to the Residential Tenancy Office On January 16 to decide once and for all whether residents’ verbal agreements with their previous landlord coupled with Hollyburn’s lack of action on the matter for over a year was permission enough to keep their pets.

The high profile case garnered quite a bit of media attention and the decision comes a month after the hearing took place.

We think Hollyburn’s heavy handed approach is indicative of its reputation for using aggressive renoviction tactics designed to evict long term tenants in order to jack up rents in the West End.

We are proud of the people at Emerald Terrace for standing up for their rights. As Seafield Apartments residence approach their day at the RTO (this Wednesday – March 11), it is certainly refreshing to hear some good news from other residents in similar situations.

Congratulations and well done!

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One Response to “Emerald Terrace Residents Win Right to Keep Homes and Pets”

  1. pet shop crazy Says:

    Another interesting article from your blog :) When will it stop?

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