Legislation Permits Evictions, Rent Increases

By: Kristen Thompson

Metro Vancouver

Renters at the Berkeley Apartments on Bute Street yesterday joined the fight to amend the Residential Tenancy Act and protect Vancouverites from what they call unjust evictions.

West Enders, along with local NDP MLAs and B.C. NDP Leader Carole James, gathered outside the three-storey building where tenants recently received letters saying eviction notices might be on the way.

Sharon Isaak of Renters At Risk said the landlords might be taking advantage of a loophole in the Residential Tenancy Act that allows evictions or rent increases for the purposes of renovation.

“(It’s) unbelievable that this government sanctions that kind of rent control,” Isaak said. “They have put legislation in place that allows this to happen.”

Last week, tenants at the Seafield Apartments on Pendrell Street were told their rent would be going up about 40 per cent to pay for cosmetic upgrades.

Jan Haldarson, who has lived in the building for seven years, said he can barely afford the rent as it is. “We’re … considering our options and will probably go for a judicial review,” Haldarson said.

But the B.C. Liberals said the NDP has turned the issue into a misleading smear campaign ahead of the provincial election.

“It was the B.C. Liberals that introduced the Rental Assistance Program to help families live in market rental housing,” the Liberals said in a press release yesterday.

“Landlords can only evict tenants if they can prove the unit needs to be vacant for the renovations … (and) tenants have the right to dispute the eviction notice through the independent dispute resolution process.”

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