Legislation to protect renters from unfair eviction introduced

Legislation to protect renters from unfair eviction introduced

June  2010

Gaps in the Residential Tenancy Act have made life difficult for many renters in B.C., particularly in Vancouver where soaring property rates and few vacancies have combined to create a highly competitive rental market where long term tenants are sometimes unfairly targeted for eviction in favour of tenants who can be charged more for the same unit.

Renters deserve to know they won’t be unfairly evicted from their homes. The legislation proposed would crack down on unfair evictions and massive rent hikes.

The three pieces of legislation, introduced by Vancouver-Hastings MLA Shane Simpson, Housing and Social Development Critic, Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert and Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Diane Thorne, include a series of amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act as well as changes to the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act.

The amendments would increase the notice that a landlord must give a tenant in the event of renovation evictions, and give tenants the right of first refusal following renovations or conversion into a strata unit.

The Long Term Tenants Protection Act would protect tenants from massive rent hikes applied for under the geographic area increase clause, which has previously allowed rents increases of up to 73 per cent in one year.

The bills would protect people like long-term West End renter Lynne Stevens, a 82 year old cancer patient who was evicted from her suite at Emerald Terrace in Vancouver’s West End under the pretext of conversion for landlord use, despite the fact that other suites were available for that purpose.

Amendments to the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act proposed by Simpson would protect the rights of manufactured home park residents who face eviction when parks are redeveloped.

Tightening up the residential tenancy act is an important step towards creating a province where everyone can afford secure, stable housing.

Will the BC Liberals adopt the proposed legislation?  Write your local MLA and let them know what you think.

It’s happening in your community!

Emerald Terrace tenants’ health at risk due to Hollyburn evictions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Emerald Terrace tenants’ health at risk due to Hollyburn evictions

Evicted tenants of Emerald Terrace will speak out against unjust evictions today.   Photo opportunities and interviews will take place. There will be an update of Lynn Steven’s eviction status.

WHEN: Monday, June 14, 2010 at 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

WHERE: Corner of Denman and Nelson Street, Vancouver

VANCOUVER – Tenants facing eviction from Emerald Terrace Apartments are taking to the streets to draw attention to unfair landlord rental practices. The group will protest near the Coast Plaza Hotel where Paul Sander, CEO of Hollyburn Properties Limited (Hollyburn), is a guest speaker at the Canadian Federation of Apartment Owners conference.

Emerald Terrace, located at 2045 Nelson Street, is the rental building where, on April 29, 2010, Hollyburn evicted two long-term residents under the guise of needing the suites for new caretakers. On May 19, an additional 39 suites received letters advising them of upcoming evictions so that Hollyburn can complete cosmetic renovations.

Wendy Bidgood, 59, a tenant for six years, has experienced a rapid decline in her health. “I am currently being treated for a number of health issues, including multiple sclerosis, yet I have been able to live independently at Emerald Terrace. With my impending eviction, I am now prematurely, at taxpayers’ expense, moving into an assisted care facility because it is less stressful than going to the Residential Tenancy Branch.”

“My wife and I have lived here for 38 years” says Gerhard Sonnenberg. “I have cancer and my wife has lost 35 lbs in one month since the first threat of eviction. Minister Coleman is ignoring the health and well-being of renters.”

“They’ve taken our home away. We’ve been illegally evicted and our lives have been turned upside down. This is a travesty.” Says tenant Jobst Bode.

Another evictee, Cynthia Holmes, says “We are already paying market rents. Minister Coleman tells 80 year olds to take their case to arbitration instead of fixing the legislation.”

In 2009, Hollyburn threatened 10 pet owners with eviction in order to vacate the suites and increase the rents. The tenants went through the dispute resolution process at the Residential Tenancy Branch and successfully had all ten evictions set aside.

SHAG Invites you to a Seniors Housing Symposium at Car Free Day!

The Seniors Housing Advocacy Group (SHAG) is a new community group for older adults in the West End concerned about aging in place. S.H.A.G. arises from the Gordon Neighbourhood House West End Seniors’ Affordable Housing Initiative program (WESAHI), in partnership with Women in Search of Housing (WISHS), The West End Residents Association (WERA), The West End Seniors Network (WESN) and funding from the United Way.

Are you an older adult renting in the West End and are you worried how much longer will you be able to afford to live in the West End?  Would you like to meet like minded neighbours who care about  housing issues affecting seniors,  like renovictions, security of tenure,  affordable seniors housing options and assisted living facilities?

S.H.A.G.  is hosting a Housing Symposium at the West End Car Free Festival on Sunday June 20.

The Right to Age in Place: Ideas into Action

Our tent will be set up on Denman Street in front of the Denman Mall between Comox and Nelson at Car Free day.

From 1:30 to 5:00 pm, we have a fun filled afternoon of interactive displays, group discussions, and keynote speakers, including:

* Renters At Risk will talk about ongoing rental tenancy issues affecting seniors in the West End.

* The West End Seniors Network (WESN) will present a discussion around agism in market and nonmarket housing in the West End

* The Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) will talk about their innovative model of non- profit housing for seniors.

* The Housing Foundation of BC will provide a second example of  a successful model of non- profit housing for low income seniors.

* The West End Residents Association (WERA) will discuss community- based planning around affordability, livability and sustainability, and update people about WERA’s comprehensive neighbourhood visioning process already underway.

* S.H.A.G. will outline the various social housing options available to seniors, SAFER, and the continuum of housing.

* And don’t miss the Community Engagement Dialogue with  Elected Officials at 4pm.

Tell your friends, invite your neighbours, we look forward to seeing you there!

If you want to get involved with SHAG and volunteer at this event, email weshag.westend@gmail.com

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