NDP Candidate Slams West End Renovictions

CTV

Incumbent NDP candidate Spencer Herbert spoke to evicted tenants in Vancouver’s West End Monday, re-stating his party’s promise to end the series of “renovictions” in the province.

Herbert held the press conference on the steps of the Berkeley apartment building on Bute St., after all of the building’s remaining tenants were served eviction notices over the weekend.

“This is a key issue in this election,” Herbert said. “Days before the election, these eviction notices have hit – and it really shows the need to change government if we’re going to change the Residential Tenancy Act.”

In April, Carole James pledged to amend the act to close a loophole that critics claim has enabled landlords to evict tenants after performing minor, cosmetic renovations and then sharply increase rent — a process dubbed “renovicting” by activists.

Related: Read the Residential Tenancy Act.

Residents of Berkeley apartments — who now pay from $850 to $1,400 for a one-bedroom — have been on pins and needles since landlord Satnam Singh Gandham applied for permission to gut the 36-suite complex for renovations last year.

Under looming threat of eviction, almost half of the building’s tenants moved out. This weekend, after months of waiting, the remaining 22 suites received their notices. They have until July 31 to find new homes.

“People can’t be treated this way,” resident Dominic Shafer said. “This kind of thing has to stop.”

Shafer, a tenant for 17 years, told reporters about the anxiety of waiting for eviction.

“We just knew the sword was hanging over our heads,” Shafer said. “We didn’t know when it was going to be happening.”

He added that some neighbourhood landlords are asking as much as $26,000 a year for a two-bedroom – and many of his evicted neighbours will not be able to find another home in the area as a result.

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One Response to “NDP Candidate Slams West End Renovictions”

  1. Derek Richer Says:

    In recent speeches Premier Campbell has touted himself as a visionary who is able and prepared to move the province towards greener pastures in a conciliatory manner.

    Before considering the veracity or likelihood of such statements, one should first review the definition of “visionary,” as this will help us to apprehend the Premier’s mentality. “Visionary” is defined as “1. existing only in a vision or the imagination; unpractical; fanciful: visionary schemes/scenes/plans. 2 (of persons) having visionary ideas; dreamy.”

    Well, at least Premier Campbell is being honest about his political approach to government. May dreams and hyperbole be our anodynes against the harsh realities of evictions and double digit rent increases.

    I wish the tenants of The Berkeley and Seafield Apartments fortitude and success in their respective, REALISTIC battles for justice.

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