Seafield Couple Evicted with Less than 10 Days Notice for GNI Resident Manager

Christine Mark Miles sign Seafield Couple Evicted with Less than 10 Days Notice for GNI Resident Manager

Christine and Mark will Always be Seafielders, No Matter Where they Live

DRO Bryant did not dispute that a vocal Seafield couple was a target of Gordon Nelson’s, but still granted the landlords the right to evict them less than 10 days after the decision was made.

Seafield residents received sad news today when they learned that the RTO granted permission to Gordon Nelson Inc to evict long-time Seafield residents Christine Brandt and Mark Moore (along with their young son, Miles Moore) on November 1, 2010.

Gordon Nelson issued an eviction notice to the couple on August 27, 2010, under 496(d) of the Residential Tenancy Act, which allows landlords to evict tenants for the purpose of putting a resident manager in the suite.

Christine and Mark, who lived in the building for more than 11 years, were active and vocal opponents of Gordon Nelson’s business model of evicting tenants for “renovations” and drastically raising rents. They were instrumental in Seafielders’ ongoing fight to remain in their homes and often acted as the spokespeople of the building, and as a point of contact between Gordon Nelson and the rest of the tenants.

Residents worked together around the clock for more than a month to help prepare Christine and Mark’s case, which outlined the history of Gordon Nelson’s vexatious behaviour toward the tenants (and Christine and Mark in particular) designed to force them from their homes.

Christine and Mark disputed their eviction at the RTO on October 18, citing bad faith on the part of the landlords for the eviction. They argued that Gordon Nelson targeted them specifically because of their vocal opposition to their business practices, and that there was a comparable vacant apartment available in the building.

Gordon Nelson claimed this unit was under renovation, but residents (many of whom work from home) had never seen or heard any construction work happening in the unit, or seen any appliances removed out.

Gordon Nelson’s evidence showed photos of a pile of carpet that had been removed from the common hallways several days prior to the hearing as proof of their renovations in the unit.

While Dispute Resolution Officer Bryant found that there was evidence that suggested GNI were targeting Christine and Mark, he did not find that this was their “primary motivation” for the eviction.

DRO Bryant accepted everything the landlord and their employees asserted – especially surrounding their caretaker’s personal circumstances limiting her from living in the vacant apartment – without requiring supporting documentation. He also would not allow Christine and Mark to call any of their witnesses, and went so far as to consult Gordon Nelson as to whether those witnesses would be relevant.

Christine remarked, “I was stunned by the proceeding. The outward display of favouritism towards the landlords from the DRO, who is supposed to be fair and balanced, was shocking. Every time we tried to effectively and thoroughly make our case to show Gordon Nelson were acting in bad faith, Bryant would shut us down, and claim it wasn’t relevant. It’s impossible to prove bad faith if you can’t show the history of Gordon Nelson’s actions.”

Although Christine and Mark requested two months notice from the date of DRO Bryant’s ruling to vacate their Seafield home, they and their 7-year old son were given less than 10 days notice to leave by the DRO.

This is legal for the Residential Tenancy Office to do, despite the obvious issue of putting tenants (who have a legal right to dispute evictions) in the situation of having to choose to fight, or choose to pack.

Christine said: “We aren’t appealing because it would be very costly, as we would have to hire a lawyer, and the best outcome we could obtain is that the decision be set aside and the matter sent back to the RTO for a re-hearing. And what is the chance that the re-hearing would be fair and balanced? It just seems too risky, costly and stressful considering what we would have to face and what we could potentially gain.”

Seafielders are deeply saddened and disappointed by the RTO’s ruling, and consider this a great loss to their community.

Mark and Christine are the first of the building’s original tenants to be legally removed from the Seafield since Gordon Nelson purchased the building nearly two and a half years ago, despite their numerous attempts at targeted evictions.

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