By Carlito Pablo
Georgia Straight - June 24,2009
Vancouver-area tenants who are afraid of being kicked out by landlords out to make a quick buck from visitors during the 2010 Olympics may have a reason to fear some more.
The B.C. Liberal government isn’t budging on a request by the City of Vancouver to amend the Residential Tenancy Act to prohibit evictions between June 1, 2009, and March 31, 2010, other than by reason of tenant default.
In a letter received by the office of Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson on June 15, B.C. housing and social development minister Rich Coleman stated that the existing provisions of the law already make it difficult for landlords to evict tenants.
Coleman also pointed out that “making changes that affect one group of landlords as distinct from another based on geographic location creates a policy that may be seen as discriminatory”.
“Affecting the rights of property owners in the manner suggested may also be seen as unfair to those property owners,” the minister wrote. “In a time where housing is scarce and private landlords are providing a valuable housing alternative, it is important to encourage them rather than discourage them.”
On April 9, Vancouver council passed a motion by Coun. Geoff Meggs that asked the province to amend the Residential Tenancy Act to prevent Olympics-related evictions.
Also included in the motion was a request that the province open a full-time staffed office of the Residential Tenancy Branch in the downtown core or along the Broadway corridor for one year, encompassing the period before and after the Games.
Coleman told Robertson that he is “mindful of the challenges landlords and tenants will experience in the time surrounding the 2010 Winter Games”.
However, Coleman stated, there are no plans by the provincial government to make changes to the act “at this time”.