Tenants to Fight Evictions to the Last

Kent Spencer
The Province
Monday, November 10, 2008
Tenants of a West End apartment have been told they must vacate their suites by Dec. 1 so the building can undergo renovations.
But the tenants are vowing to use every legal means to fight the evictions.
“This is extremely stressful. All the tenants want to stay in their homes,” said Christine Brandt, a longtime resident of the Seafield building in the 1400-block Pendrell Street. “It will be over our dead bodies that we will allow this to happen.”
Brandt said rents are projected to go up 80 to 100 per cent after the renovations. Rents are currently $1,250 to $1,450 for one- and two-bedroom suites.
Co-owner Chris Nelson said a decision has been made not to talk to the media about plans for the building.
“It’s being done out of respect for the tenants’ privacy,” said Nelson, who coowns the building with Jason Gordon.
Mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson said a loophole in the Residential Tenancy Act is being exploited by “a minority of landlords” to allow evictions under the guise of renovations so rents can be “jacked up.”
If elected, Robertson said, he will fight the loophole by requiring renovation permits to be scrutinized by city staff.
He said some permits would be “withheld” if they were deemed to be designed primarily to hike rents.

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