Market catches up to long-term tenants; rents to rise 38 percent
By Jackie Wong April 24, 2009 05:00 pm
Source: The Tyee
An eight-month tenant-landlord battle in Vancouver’s West End came to a head this week following the public release of an April 2 decision from the Residential Tenancy Office that allows the new landlords of the Seafield apartments to issue 38 per cent rent increases to nine of the 14 units in the 77-year-old heritage building.
The hikes are lower than the 73 per cent increases originally requested by new landlords Jason Gordon and Chris Nelson, brothers-in-law and former internet gaming executives who bought the building last summer and have since been trying to bring rents up to what they see as market rates.
Seafield tenants, the oldest of whom have lived in the building for nearly 50 years, have been fighting what first seemed like evictions for renovations (what they called ‘renovictions’) and then the 73 per cent rent increases disputed during a March 11 conference-call hearing between 18 tenants, Gordon Nelson Investments, and a dispute resolution officer. Tenants are currently unable to comment further as they are seeking legal advice and a potential judicial review of the decision, but advocates say the decision marks the effective end of rent control in the province.
“I have spent the last three years of my life asking the BC Liberal government to review the [Residential Tenancy] Act, to remove sections that are causing evictions and $500-a-month rent increases. They will not do it,” Sharon Isaak told reporters yesterday.