Eviction Notices Reversed for Seafield Apartments in West End

By Sandra Thomas

Vancouver Courier

The owners of the Seafield Apartments in the West End are selling the 75-year-old building, which has been at the centre of a much publicized tenant/landlord dispute since 2008.

Jason Gordon, a partner in Gordon Nelson Inc., told the Courier Wednesday the deal to sell the Seafield closes March 1. Gordon would not name the new owner.

Gordon said he and partner Chris Nelson decided to sell the building several months ago after it became clear they couldn’t reach an agreement with the longtime tenants of the Seafield, located at 1436 Pendrell St.

“We tried, but we just couldn’t get anywhere,” said Gordon. “Now it’s time to move on.”

A recent provincial Residential Tenancy Branch decision found Gordon Nelson Inc. did not meet the test of “good faith” in its application to evict the tenants at 1436 Pendrell St. for “renovations.”

The Seafield residents announced this week the branch had reversed the eviction notices received by the tenants in December. Mass eviction notices were delivered just 10 days after the branch decided against an application by Gordon Nelson to increase rents at the Seafield by up to 73 per cent. The average rent on an 1,100-square-foot apartment at the Seafield is $1,450. In December the Residential Tenancy Branch decided the rents are comparable to similar buildings in the area and denied Gordon Nelson the increase.

In reversing the evictions, dispute resolution officer D. Vaughn, wrote, “In considering the landlord’s submissions with regard to good faith intent, I find, on balance of probabilities, their claim is undermined by their ulterior, primary motive of achieving a substantial rent increase. Therefore, I find that the landlord is attempting to end these tenancies in bad faith.”

Gordon Nelson attempted to evict the residents to complete what it called a massive overhaul of the building, including new wiring and a sprinkler system. The tenants argued the renovations didn’t warrant eviction notices and that Gordon Nelson’s only motive was to increase their rents.

Vaughn agreed and wrote: “I find by their own words, the landlord weighed the benefits of receiving higher rents over the need or desire to renovate a building which they claimed was unsafe and required renovations.”

Doug King, a lawyer representing the tenants, said the decision was important because it validated the residents’ claims the landlords were acting in bad faith.

“This is the first time the issue of bad faith has been recognized in these kinds of deals regarding renovations,” said King.

King said the tenants are waiting to see what their future holds, but added their relieved they’re not facing immediate eviction. King had no idea about the sale of the building until the Courier informed him Wednesday afternoon.

Gordon Nelson released statement in which it wishes both the tenants and new owners of the building good luck.

“To the new owners we wish them all the best,” reads the statement in part. “To the tenants, we wish guidance, perspective and self-awareness. To build strong, safe communities all need to be involved and occasionally compromise.”

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One Response to “Eviction Notices Reversed for Seafield Apartments in West End”

  1. Diana Morency Says:

    Seafield Tennats:

    If you want to find out who the new owner will be all you have to do is go to Land Titles and do a a Land Title Search on the property. THis is public information. If you come with a number then call the Taxation department and they will release the info to you for a nominal amount.
    Job well done!

    Diana

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