Seafielders Win Landmark Ruling in 73% Rent Increase Hearing

Gavel small Seafielders Win Landmark Ruling in 73% Rent Increase Hearing

Residents of the Seafield Apartments, at 1436 Pendrell Street in Vancouver, have received news that landlord Gordon Nelson Inc’s application for a 73% rent increase has been dismissed at the Residential Tenancy Office (RTO).

Residents endured a two-year legal battle that involved collecting extensive evidence demonstrating that their rents were in line with other similar apartments in the West End, pursuing a Supreme Court case to overturn the original, “patently unreasonable” decision, and participating in a second hearing at the RTO last October.

The latest ruling has been issued and is summarized as follows:

“Conclusion:

The landlords’ application for an additional rent increase in respect to all the subject units is dismissed.  The landlord is at liberty to issue rent increases in accordance with and as permitted by the Regulation.”

The ruling in favour of the tenants marks the conclusion of a lengthy and very time consuming process.

What the ruling means is that—following examination of comprehensive evidence submitted by both parties—the Residential Tenancy Branch agrees that the rents being paid by the tenants are not “significantly lower than the rent payable for other rental units that are similar to, and in the same geographic area as, the rental unit(s).”

While Seafielders are obviously pleased and relieved to receive this decision, they are concerned that the system works only for those who have the support and considerable time required to fight the pro-landlord 2004 amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act, which include the Area Geographic Rent increase option.

They are also deeply indebted to the legal expertise of CLAS, without whose assistance a successful and fair outcome would also likely not have been attainable.

Seafielders also cannot under-emphasize the degree of vulnerability experienced by tenants who speak out in their own defence, as evidenced by a series of attempted evictions for cause, including the successful eviction of a Seafield family who were vocal in this struggle.

For more information, or to obtain a copy of the decision, please email Seafield residents.

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