Mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson promised renters that, if elected, the city will scrutinize permits issued to landlords to determine whether renovations are necessary to maintain a building, or whether they are being used to justify evictions and massive rent increases.
This would help protect Vancouver renters from abuse of section 49 (6) (b) of the Residential Tenancy Act, exploited by some landlords to justify evictions for renovations designed to increase rents.
While renters’ rights and abuse of the RTA is mainly a provincial issue, the city has the power to issue permits to landlords to carry out renovations and repairs on buildings. The city can refuse to issue permits.
Robertson, along with other Vision Vancouver members, Councillor Tim Stevenson and Park Board candidate Aaron Jasper, visited 1436 Pendrell Street to listen to concerns from Seafield Apartment residents about their building and their community that is at risk.
- CBC – West End tenants say they face eviction because of legal ‘loophole’
- The Province – Tenants to fight evictions to the last
- 24 Hours – Vision targeting evictions
- CTV News – Robertson vows to stand up for renters’ rights
- Metro – Landlords manipulate loophole to increase rents: Robertson
- CKNW – A Lifestyle Could Soon End
- World Journal Coverage
Residents of Seafield Apartments are a diverse group of people, ranging in age from the soon-to-be-born to 92 years-old. As resident Christine Brandt put it to members of the media, “We’re very much an extended family. It’s way more than just knocking on the door for an egg or cup of sugar. We love each other…”
Seafielders have been threatened with eviction by their new landlords, Jason Gordon and Chris Nelson of Gordon Nelson Investments. Based on the timeline presented to them by Gordon Nelson Investments, they can expect to receive eviction notices at the end of the month.
Proposed renovations for the building include:
• Dividing living rooms to create an extra bedroom in one and two bedroom suites
• Kitchen upgrades
• Electrical upgrades including the installation of electrical heaters
• The conversion of basement storage and laundry facilities into 300 sq feet bachelor units (for $800 a month).
There has even been talk of converting the building into 42 bachelor units.
Seafield Apartment residents are pleased that certain local politicians are prepared to do something about renters’ rights in Vancouver, and encourage all citizens to vote in the municipal election on November 15, 2008.