By Matthew Burrows
A struggling, pet-loving renter must vacate her one-bedroom suite in the West End by April 1, but insists she
has nowhere to go.
“I don’t have a place, and I don’t know what to do,” Laryssa Troniak told the Georgia Straight by phone.
Moving to a new place, she said, “is too expensive. I’ve been looking. The situation is I am an underemployed
actress, and I’m dealing with really bad health issues.”
Troniak, 32, has lived in the building at 1075 Burnaby Street since 1997. According to her, Gordon Nelson
Investments Inc. purchased the 20-unit building in November and is now preparing to undertake extensive
Troniak maintains she cannot leave because of health issues, and she has not packed for a move. Her rent is
$600 a month, and, she said, she has not found anything comparable for less than $950, which is what
bachelor apartments are going for in her area.
Things appear about to get worse for Troniak, because she has signed a mutual agreement to end her tenancy.
However, she said, she was under the impression she would not have to leave by April 1.
Chris Nelson, co-owner of GNI, told the Straight by phone that he had a signed agreement in his hand stating
that his company and Troniak have agreed to two months’ free rent and to GNI paying her moving expenses,
in exchange for Troniak vacating her suite. Nelson said Troniak did not pay rent for the month of December,
leaving a balance that represents half of her rental compensation.
When the Straight relayed this information, Troniak reacted with shock and anger, having earlier
categorically denied signing away her tenancy.
“This doesn’t look good on top of everything else,” she said.
GNI had enlisted a third party, MoMac Consulting Ltd., to facilitate the buyouts of the tenants. Sharon Isaak,
a West End renter and spokesperson for Renters at Risk, told the Straight she is concerned tenants simply do
not know their rights—that they do not have to sign anything.
“What is being told to the tenants to get them to sign if, two weeks before moving, they are confused?” Isaak
said by cellphone. “Do they understand what they are signing?”
Nelson would not say whether GNI intends to tear the building down, but said the company has begun the
process of “getting building permits to complete the renovations on the building”. In a subsequent interview,
Nelson said that he is willing to assist Troniak in finding a place to live.