Seafield Tenants Win the Fight, Continue the War

Melissa Mewdell photo Seafield Tenants Win the Fight, Continue the War

Photo of Melissa Mewdell by Dave White

By: Dave White

NEWS1130

They get to keep their homes without a massive rent increase — but the fight isn’t over yet.

People at the West End’s Seafield Apartments have won their grievance with the Residential Tenancy Branch. An arbitrator says the landlord acted in bad faith when he gave notice for so-called “renovictions” and a shocking 73 per cent rent hike.

Tenant Melissa Mewdell tells us, “When I arrived at this building, I learned two weeks later after moving to Vancouver that I was going to be evicted for renovations.”

She says it came at a time when she was struggling to make friends and find some solid ground in the city — and at the time, she didn’t know her rights.

Mewdell was thrilled when people in the building banded together. But she says it’s been a two year fight, with eight court battles and a trip to the supreme court — somehow, that’s considered a victory.

She says it’s become the tenant’s job to uphold the law, and that’s not fair. “There’s something that seems like it’s broken with a system that requires tenants to put their lives on hold, sacrifice their health, sacrifice their careers — sacrifice everything — just to have the law upheld!”

Tenants are demanding loopholes in the act be closed immediately, because they say other buildings face the same plight.

Pivot Legal Society lawyer Douglas King, who represented the tenants, says, “It’s time for all levels of government to work together to stop the rental crisis in Vancouver. Tenants shouldn’t have to work this hard to save their homes, nor should they feel at any moment they could be kicked out to make way for someone richer.”

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