Seafield Tenants Face 73% Rent Increase

GORDON NELSON ATTEMPT COLOSSAL RENT HIKE

Last Wednesday evening, January 14,residents of the West End’s Seafield Apartments at 1436 Pendrell Street received thick envelopes from their new landlords Jason Gordon and Chris Nelson of Gordon Nelson Investments (GNI) detailing the landlords’ application to the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch for rent increases of up to 73%. The Seafield residents, a tight-knit group of neighbours who have been working together for months to save their community and their building from renoviction now face a new battle–“rent-o-viction”–- with their greedy landlords.

The tenants facing one of the largest rent increase of 72% are brother and sister Roland and Mary McFall, who are 83 and 92 years of age respectively, have lived in the building for 47 years, and are on a fixed income.

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Since GNI took possession of the Seafield on August 1, 2008 and handed an eviction notice to Kevin and Trina, the building’s former live-in caretakers  (subsequently rescinded as their duties were completely unconnected to their tenancy), maintenance standards have declined precipitously. Residents, who take pride in the meticulous maintenance of the building, have frequently been forced to assume the cleaning of common areas, clearing of clogged downspouts, snow shovelling, groundskeeping, and garbage removal.

On December 30, 2008 the Seafield’s laundry machines were removed without notice and only recently replaced – with half the number of machines at nearly double the price (from $1.50 per load per machine to $2.75 per load per machine). Despite this neglect of the building, GNI has still applied for astronomical average rent increases of 63%.

The current residents have paid the maximum allowable rent increase every year of their tenancies. There is clearly no justification for this additional rent increase.

Seafield residents plan to challenge Gordon Nelson Investments’ cash grab and are calling on other tenants in the West End to log on to their website at http://seafieldapartments.com and post their rents, as they need this information to prove that their rents are in line with what many long time West End renters are paying.

HOW TO HELP:

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33 Responses to “Seafield Tenants Face 73% Rent Increase”

  1. Sarah Says:

    My rent went up less than 2 per cent (about $22 more a month), which is legal…what these guys are doing is outrageous!!!

  2. Joel Carter Says:

    I rent very near to your building at 1288 Broughton. The rent for our suite has been raised every year as well, but at <4% per year which is the maximum allowed by the RTA I believe. We currently pay $975 for a 1 bedroom apartment. Hope that helps, Joel.

  3. Stacey Gregory Says:

    I’d just never clean my clothes if it was going to cost me $2.75 a wash and $2.75 a dry. I’d prefer to walk around smelling. And I think it is crazy how all these increases are being put in to place when it is such an old building full of older, long standing, loyal residents.

  4. Mark Says:

    I can’t believe they would try to do that to seniors! The laundry increase was bad enough (laundry fees at my building were recently raised, up to only $1.75 and $2.20), but a 63% increase to people who are already paying the maximum raises each year is ridiculous. GNI deserves an Epic Fail for this.

  5. Stephanie Says:

    I pay 750 for a large studio on Pacific near Bute. I have never used the laundry, I prefer Hot Sox on Denman where a double load is only 1.50 and 25 cents for 5 minutes in a big gas dryer. Heat and hot water are included but basic maintenance like vacuuming, window cleaning etc is non existent and things are fixed only when they break down. Tenants blast music and yell at all hours with no consequence. The 50 yr building has mice and the walls paper thin. I was thinking of moving back near the Davie st area but I am concerned about the growing bedbug problem downtown. Before I check out any vacancies I look it up to see if any bedbug complaints have been filed. There have been many in the Seafield area including right across the street. It seems this area is a hot bed of infestation so Gordon Nelson is crazy if they think they are justified in raising rents by up to 72% for existing tenants regardless of the other rents in the area. This is not Yaletown or Coal Harbour, where 2000+ rent is standard for newer condos.

    Look at 1057 Barclay, it looks like only half the building is occupied after the big “renovation”…they charge $1200 for a studio suite, as seen on craigslist yesterday. They must be losing money on that venture and are trying to make it up. Here I just cut and pasted the list, excluding the ones east of Burrard.

    134 bedbug reports near this address:

    1355 Pendrell St 0.02 km
    1150 Jervis St 0.10 km
    1160 Broughton St 0.11 km
    1435 Pendrell St 0.14 km
    1100 Jervis St 0.15 km
    1180 Broughton St 0.16 km
    1209 Jervis St 0.16 km
    1254 Pendrell St 0.18 km
    1075 Jervis St 0.20 km
    1255 Pendrell St 0.20 km
    1265 Burnaby St 0.25 km
    1250 Comox St 0.26 km
    1500 Pendrell St 0.27 km
    1485 Davie St 0.28 km
    1137 Bute St 0.28 km
    990 Broughton St 0.29 km
    1230 Burnaby St 0.30 km
    1345 Nelson St 0.31 km
    1095 Bute St 0.32 km
    1215 Comox St 0.35 km
    1205 Comox St 0.36 km
    1086 Bute St 0.36 km
    1414 Barclay St 0.37 km
    1315 Bute St 0.38 km
    1434 Burnaby St 0.39 km
    1540 Davie St 0.40 km
    1348 Barclay St 0.40 km
    1330 Barclay St 0.41 km
    1260 Harwood St 0.41 km
    1222 Harwood St 0.41 km
    1202 Harwood St 0.42 km
    1235 Nelson St 0.44 km
    1134 Burnaby St 0.45 km
    1339 Barclay St 0.45 km
    1521 Burnaby St 0.46 km
    1616 Pendrell St 0.46 km
    1170 Harwood St 0.46 km
    1601 Barclay St 0.47 km
    1122 Burnaby St 0.47 km
    1110 Davie St 0.49 km
    950 Jervis St 0.49 km
    1121 Harwood St 0.51 km
    1650 Barclay St 0.51 km
    1225 Cardero St 0.52 km
    1655 Barclay St 0.53 km
    1155 Pacific St 0.54 km
    958 Bute St 0.55 km
    1050 Bidwell St 0.55 km
    852 Nicola St 0.56 km
    1395 Beach Ave 0.57 km
    1332 Thurlow St 0.57 km
    1623 Haro St 0.58 km
    1333 Haro St 0.60 km
    836 Cardero St 0.61 km
    1265 Cardero St 0.61 km
    1280 Haro St 0.62 km
    1065 Harwood St 0.64 km
    1111 Beach Ave 0.66 km
    1275 Haro St 0.66 km
    1170 Barclay St 0.67 km
    1650 Burnaby St 0.68 km
    1039 Burnaby St 0.68 km
    850 Bidwell St 0.68 km
    1770 Barclay St 0.69 km
    1030 Burnaby St 0.69 km
    1771 Nelson St 0.69 km
    1115 Nelson St 0.72 km
    1772 Pendrell St 0.76 km
    1255 Bidwell St 0.76 km
    1755 Davie St 0.77 km
    1270 Robson St 0.78 km
    1640 Alberni St 0.79 km
    1277 Robson St 0.81 km
    1160 Haro St 0.81 km
    1175 Haro St 0.82 km
    1111 Barclay St 0.82 km
    1825 Haro St 0.84 km
    1058 Nelson St 0.84 km
    711 Broughton St 0.85 km
    1795 Davie St 0.85 km
    1450 W Georgia St 0.87 km
    1059 Nelson St 0.87 km
    1723 Alberni St 0.87 km
    1100 Burrard St 0.89 km
    1831 Robson St 0.90 km
    888 Pacific St 0.94 km
    1900 Barclay St 0.95 km
    1050 Burrard St 0.97 km
    1288 W Georgia St 0.98 km
    989 Nelson St 1.04 km
    1958 Barclay St 1.04 km
    1933 Robson St 1.04 km
    1260 Howe St 1.06 km
    1045 Haro St 1.07 km
    1952 Comox St 1.08 km
    1201 W Georgia St 1.10 km
    1033 Haro St 1.10 km
    610 Jervis St 1.11 km
    2010 Barclay St 1.15 km

    I hope no one is offended by the bedbug reference but the point is that the rent increases proposed by Gordon Nelson are completely unreasonable within the context of the West End rental market. It looks like they are abandoning their “renovation” plans for Seafield and will just try to get what they can. This seems like a desperate move similar to Hollyburn trying to evict senior cat owners.

    I used to live at 1133 Barclay ($750 1 bedroom, moved out 2005) because the building was in complete disrepair and taken over by homeless people outside and also inside due to poor security and nonexistent managers. They must have evicted everyone and have been renovating from top to bottom since the summer. I noticed the homeless have again set up camp in the parking lot suggesting that the pace of development must be slowing down.

    With the recession and credit crunch, real estate is not the investment it once was and I congratulate you all for standing up to these bullies. Best of luck !

  6. Diana Morency Says:

    Hi: This is an outrage and this is not right! This about greed and its disgusting that these already wealthy individuals want more upon more and the expense of the less fortunate. I pay $765.00 dollars per month and I live on Cardero and Haro Street. Will provide a receipt if you need it!

    Sincerely,

    DM

  7. janice johnston Says:

    I live at Pacific & Cardero.
    My 600 sq ft one bedroom apartment has a balcony and an ocean view.
    I pay $1050 per month for rent and $50 per month for parking.
    Heat & cable is included.
    The building is approximately 40 years old, well maintained and has an
    onsite manager.
    3 washers and 3 dryers in the basement are shared by the 40 suites/
    it costs $2 to wash and $2 to dry.
    After my first year and again at the end of my second year, I received a
    standard 3.5% rent increase.

  8. whatup Says:

    Gordon and Neslon are a bunch of scammers. Their purchase of these places at the top of the market will backfire.

  9. Bogo Says:

    Re: Whatup is partially right; they bought at the top of the market, but they’re gamblers not scammers and it may not backfire quickly enough to help the tenants.

    Depending on the form of financing (type of mortgage and term), for the building purchases you cite Gordon Nelson Investments has made, particularly the amount of down payment they provided, it is likely that their existing rental cashflow is inadequate to refinance the mortgages they used to purchase the properties, particularly at a higher interest rate. Never mind paying themselves any sort of salaries.
    This is not a defense of their business model and actions. But perhaps an understanding of their circumstances might provide some insight into determining the degree of action which is required to have them reverse their rent increases.
    In my view, they are in a position where they either get the rents increased or possibly lose their equity in the buildings.
    BTW, I’ve rented a junior(525 sq.ft) 1 bedroom ground level in a 3 storey walk-up at Comox and Bidwell since 2002 and started at $720/mth now up to $820. Laundry is $1.50.

  10. Teri Says:

    I live @ Barclay and Chilco.
    My studio is 400 sq ft, no balcony, third floor, 40 unit building.
    I pay $830 for rent and it increases yearly by 3.7%.
    Heat, cable and hot water is included.
    There are 2 washers and 2 dryers @ $2.00 each. This is an increase from last years price of $1.50.
    There is a live in manager but the building is usually dirty and since the recycling needs to be wheeled out for pick up, it often gets missed. The building gets a good professional clean once a year but not much besides that.
    The building advertises ‘no pets’ but most people have cats and I was told that cats were ‘ok’.

  11. Dave Says:

    I’m on harwood & bute, and pay 912/month for a studio with a view and balcony.

  12. Matthew Says:

    The characters who happen to own this apartment now Jason Gordon and Chris Nelson used to be employed by a wanted man both in the US and Canada. This just tells you the people these poor tenants have to deal with. These guys knew Bodog was operating illegally but they didn’t mind getting a pay cheque.

    The average rent in the West End for a one bedroom is less than $1200.00, so for them to tell the public “this group of tenants pays 50% of whats on the market” is a plain lie.

    I pay $1200.00 in Kits for my one bedroom and the property management company that owns our building is fantastic and fair.

    I’m so sorry you have to deal with these people but they will get it in the end. Karma can be a bitch.

    Good luck!

  13. Wendy Says:

    I live at Broughton and Barclay and pay $1116.00 for a large one bedroom. We have an indoor pool and sauna. We pay $2.00 for a washer and $2.00 for a dryer. Our building is well maintained and quiet. I was thinking of moving last year and had given notice and they had only raised the rent to $1332.00, however I ended up staying at my regular rent. We did have bedbugs last summer, but I haven’t heard of any more recently.

  14. Guy Says:

    Sorry you have to deal with these guys. $835/1 bedroom + balcony + little slice of the ocean. West End.

  15. Ali Says:

    I live in the beautiful Berkeley building at Nelson and Bute. Our 1 bedroom has hardwood floors, beautiful moldings, leaded glass doors and big windows. Laundry in the basement is $1.25 per wash and $1.75 per dry. We pay $830 including heat and hot water. Our rent increases the max per year: 3%.

  16. LB Says:

    I’m at Barclay and Thurlow – small 1bdrm for $990 (incl heat) in a building that gets constant upgrades (like new windows, exterior painted, new carpets in the halls). Unit has beautiful hardwood floors, high ceilings, etc. Our rent was not increased at all with our new lease in December. Laundry is $1.75 for wash and $1.75 for dry.

  17. Denise Says:

    I’m in a one bedroom at Comox and Denman and pay $1100 for 10th floor ocean view with heat and hot water included.

  18. Dorothy Says:

    I live at Broughton and Nelson. When Moved in Jan 2008, the rent was $1175. It was increased by $43 in Jan 2009. It has a dishwasher and balcony, pool, sauna and gym. I wished I had realized how much rents had increased when I was looking, as actually I found that around $1100 was average for a one bedroom and might have found something for that but I hadn’t realized that that was actually average.

    I was evicted from 1550 Barlcay Street (along with all the other tenants) when the new owners tried to turn the building into luxury condos. Happily, they are having trouble selling them.

    I hope there is karma in our lifetime for all these greedy people.

    Good luck.

  19. Nick Says:

    I’m at Burnaby and Thurlow – 600 sq. ft. bachelor apartment for $820. I hope this doesn’t change!!!

  20. Jackie Says:

    We moved into a one-bedroom apartment at Gilford and Pendrell last May. We pay $1450–this is the higher end of our budget but we really liked the location, view, and the fact that the apartment has a lot of natural light, plus since there are two of us, the rent is ok to split. I can’t imagine how a single person could pay for this themselves though. The building itself is quite old, built in the early 1960s, and undergoing extensive elevator repairs. Our laundry is $2.25 per load, up $0.25 in the last year. The last place I lived in was a two-bedroom ground-floor apartment in Kits, $1125, a steal. Laundry was $2 on a swipe card system that got added to rent. A good location but, despite being a younger building, we had mould on our walls and there was poor ventilation all around. Glad to live in the West End, but always worried about the low vacancy rates and rising prices…

  21. Jenn Says:

    I lived at two different buildings in the West End (The Beaconsfield and Holly Lodge).

    At the Beaconsfield I was paying approx $1150 for a large 3 bedroom apartment. At Holly Lodge I was paying $800 for a large 1 bedroom (the only utilities I had to pay for were phone/cable/internet and electricity) (I left in July of 2007 and $800 was the rent I was paying then)

  22. Clayton D. Says:

    I’ve lived in a bachelor suite in a 25-story building at Nelson and Cardero since June 2008. Rent is $780/month, including heat and water. This week, I just received an advance notice of rental increase for the spring — just $10, which I naturally found shockingly, refreshingly reasonable.

    The building and the suite are by no means wondrous to behold, but everything is adequately maintained, and my maintenance requests have been dealt with speedily.

    Card-operated laundry is $1.50 to $1.75. No other major amenities in the building.

    The spacious, well-maintained one bedroom that I used to occupy at Comox and Chilco continues to rent at $1050, including heat and water. Rental increases there have been at the maximum level for the last three years — about $40 to $50.

  23. Paul Says:

    We live at Davie and Jervis. Our one bedroom ground floor apartment it $830/mo. We pay for hydro, phone and internet. Heat, hot water and cooking gas is included in our rent. In-building laundry is $1.50 ea. per wash/dry.

  24. DMorency Says:

    I currently pay $760.00 for Jr 1 bedroom street level with no balcony, heat included. So the 50-% market rent that Gordone Nelson refers to is just a lie!

  25. Greg Says:

    I live at 11– Pendrell ( just behind St. Pauls)
    rent a 1 bedroom
    rent is 1200.00 with parking
    a balcony with a view south
    great onsite manager
    heat and hot water include
    washer $2.00 dryer $1.00
    i am guessing it is probably a 40 yr old building but in good shape the owners take care of it for any little repair and all kitchens and bathrooms were redone a yr ago with just the normal 3.5% rent increase. I have been here 5 yrs with no complaints.
    Thank-You for letting me know about Nelson Invest. I will spread the word around that they are just being scumlords and nothing more. Keep up the fight i back you all the way. Wha they are asking for there you can rent cheaper on Beach ave.

  26. aleah g Says:

    3.0 years ago I paid $700 for a studio bute and davie. bute manor.

  27. Miranda Stirling Says:

    I live in a one bedroom apartment at Cardero and Davie for $1115, 4% increase each year.
    11th floor city view
    outdoor pool
    well maintained common areas
    new appliances
    little noice from neighbours
    in-building laundry $1.95 each (just got new mathines, bigger and better, price went up .20)
    Heat and hot water included.

  28. Tyler Says:

    We pay $1150 for a 1bedroom 750sqf, 8th floor NW corner unit w/ balcony at Gilford and Comox. Yes we can see the water too ;)

    GF previously paid $880 for her Jr.1bedroom w/ balcony north facing in the same building last year on the 6th floor.

    We pay $2.00 for wash and $2.00 for dryer, heat/hot water included.

    The property management here is great (but strict) at ensuring the building is looking good.

  29. JBlenkiron Says:

    I live at Cardero & Haro and pay $600.00 for a bachelor – heat & gas includeded. Hardwood floors and pet friendly.

  30. Disgruntled tenant Says:

    Sadly, I live at 1772 Comox, with terrible building maintenance and useless laundry (the cost of which went up unannounced last year without upgrades). Heat and hot water included, as well as vacuuming the halls once a week or so. For our approx 700 sq. ft. 1 bedroom we pay $860.

    I used to live at 1348 Barclay, in an approx. 900 sq. ft. two bedroom for $1350 (started at this amount in 2007). Amenities included a giant laundry room with lots of facilities, a gym, and a pool. Building is kept in immaculate condition and landlords are responsive.

    Finally, the Patricia at 1110 Cardero still has one bedrooms going for $800 – $850 depending on the floor. Two bedrooms start at $1200, and suites range from 700 – 900 sq. ft. Heat and hot water included, laundry on every other floor, awesome building manager.

    It should be noted that Commonwealth Holding Co. Ltd. (owns 1772 Comox and 1110 Cardero) has wildly varying practices from building to building, seemingly related to that building’s particular manager rather than the company itself. At present, the cost for a one bedroom in one of their buildings is $800, and a comparable suite in another building goes for $1200. Some managers know the rules and other don’t (or they just flout them).

  31. kd Says:

    I live nearby on Comox near Bute, my building is a bit younger than teh Seafield(built in the 1950’s) and I pay $820 (heat and hot water included) for a one bedroom, top floor corner suite (I think it is about 650 square feet).
    My rent is a bit lower than some of the newer tenants (I think a recent one bedroom was rented for $900/month), and my rent has increased slightly each year for the past couple of years, but the increase doesn’t seem unreasonable to me at all, I know that the property taxes have increased slightly each year as well, and the rent wasn’t increased for my first few years of living there.
    We have about 20 suites and only 2 washers and dryers (but remarkably this hasn’t been too much of a problem) and the cost is $2.00 per wash, and $1.75 for the dryer.
    The building itself has normal wear and tear that you would expect but is kept fairly clean, and I’ve never had a problem with getting something fixed if it is something I can’t repair myself…and our landlord/manager give us plenty of notice about any work that is being done that may inconvenience us in any way (I can’t imagine that they would ever remove the washers and dryers without letting us know ahead of time, or making sure a replacement machine was there).

  32. Marilyn Says:

    We live at Burrard and Pacific. Great cement building run by a strata, where a percentage of the owners are allowed to rent out their suites. We pay $895 for our 500 square foot one bedroom apartment, includes heat and hot water. Our laundry costs $1.50 to wash and $1.50 to dry.

  33. James Says:

    I do not want to sound racist or ridiculous. Please put my words in context and you understand what I mean.I have noticed with the wave of Korean and Japanese students in downtown, the landlords are using this opportunity to charge hotel rates against these kids. Just look at the rents in some of the buildings. For a very small one bedroom, 1844 Barclay street is charging 1350 and 1770 Barclay street is charging 1450. Barclay house is pushing people out of the building evicting them by stupid reasons just to replace them with these international students. The poor students not knowing the true rent here and finding it cheaper than usual rent, rent the apartment then get two more roommates. It is ridiculous. in some rooms, there are 4 or 5 people living in a one bedroom that is only good for two people. And the greedy landloard doesn’t care as long as he can pocket big money….. And my friend gets eviction notice for having a baby that is just an infant. THESE ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF US BEING QUIET AND LETTING THESE PEOPLE TO VIOLATE US :( … PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED.. Have you noticed? The change of downtown is changing. You see more international students than local people. Westend is becoming a BIG HOTE… Time to rise and defend ourselves… THERE HAS TO BE PRICE FREEZE ON ALL DOWNTOWN APARTMENTS… THEY HAVE BEEN MANIPULATING THE HOUSING RENT ENOUGH … COME ON GUYS, SOON, THE ONLY PEOPLE BEING ABLE TO LIVE IN DOWNTOWN WOULD BE THE MILLIONAIRES…. FIGHT BACK OR WE LOSE GROUND….

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