JANUARY 23, 2010
VANCOUVER – Tenants asserting persecution and intimidation by their landlord, Hollyburn Properties Limited, have been vindicated with their most recent win at the Residential Tenancy Branch.
Emerald Terrace Residents Speak Out At Press Conference Today
Emerald Terrace is the rental building where Hollyburn has employed numerous tactics in order to circumvent a BC Supreme Court ruling preventing them from evicting tenants for cosmetic renovations. Tactics include providing misinformation to tenants through “Resident Opinion Polls” in an effort to scare them out of the building and bogus letters stating their tenancies would end. Hollyburn also tried to evict 83-year old Lynn Stevens, a 40 year tenant battling cancer, because they claimed they needed her suite for a resident manager. Hollyburn’s attempt to evict 10 pet owners in 2009 was also thwarted when those tenants filed for dispute resolution at the RTB and had the evictions set aside.
Excerpts from Dispute Resolution Officer K. Millar’s decision:
“I find that the landlord deliberately misinformed the tenants regarding the impact of the plumbing re-pipe.”
I find that the misinformation above had that effect on the tenants and that as a result they were deprived of the right to live in an environment free from intimidation.”
“While to a non-resident the Opinion Poll can be taken to show the landlord’s commitment to upgrade the building which presumably would benefit the tenants, I accept that for the residents of the building it assumed a more sinister air.”
“Emerald Terrace is the tip of the iceberg” explains resident Cynthia Holmes. “These tactics have been exposed only because the tenants in this building had the wherewithal to fight. There is something wrong with the system and the legislation when landlord accountability is entirely dependent on tenant action.”
“Although the amount awarded really does not adequately compensate us for our troubles, I am happy that the decision is in our favour” says 82-year old tenant Les McBride. “My wife Olwen passed away and I believe the stress and anxiety caused by Hollyburn had a significant impact on her health during her final days.”
HOUSING / ‘Our landlords are the new Hollyburn’: Seafield resident
Source: XTra West
Shauna Lewis / Vancouver / Thursday, March 26, 2009
Residents of the Seafield Apartment Building, Photo: Shauna Lewis
West End renters living under the shadow of threatened evictions are calling for revisions to BC’s Residential Tenancy Act (RTA).
“They’re basically destroying community if they continue to do this,” says longtime tenant Andrew Simmons, pointing to the companies behind many of the eviction notices.
“If companies like Hollyburn Properties and Gordon Nelson Investments continue to purchase more and more buildings then they are forcing out those people that are on the margins – they are forcing out young gay people.
“It’s only going to be changed through legislation,” Simmons says.
The RTA currently allows property owners to raise rents above the 3.7 percent allowable annual hike if they can demonstrate that the increase will put the units on par with the area’s market value.
The Act also allows property owners to kick tenants out if they can prove that major renovations are needed on the units.
Both sections of the Act need to be changed, renters say.
Residents given reprieve from rental cat-nundrum
By STEFANIA SECCIA, 24 HOURS
Sharon Isaak - Co-founder Renters At Risk
A west-end group of residents and their cats can breath a sigh of relief after B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch blocked the evictions that would have forced them – and their furry friends – out.
The group of cat-owners had verbal permission to keep pets, but last December Hollyburn Properties tried to evict them because of it, said Spencer Herbert, NDP MLA, yesterday.
“This should’ve never happened,” said Herbert outside the west-end apartment building Emerald Terrace.
Mary Milligan, a resident for three years and owner of one cat, said, “You can’t believe the relief I feel.”
Sharon Isaak from the Renters at Risk Campaign (RRC) said Hollyburn was aware of these pets a year ago when it bought the building, but used the excuse now to get long-term residents out in an effort to increase the rent.
“[Hollyburn needs] to be accountable for this,” she said. “Enough is enough.”
But Allan Wesley, Hollyburn general manager, said RRC is putting a spin on it.
“We will continue to consider our residents’ well-being in all policies, including our policy requiring that all residents must have written authorization to have a pet in their unit,” he wrote in a statement.
Source:24 Hours Vancouver
Andrew, Pat & Rodrigo, Photo: WE Newspaper
Sometimes the underdog wins. In undoubtedly the most publicly anticipated Decision to ever come from the Residential Tenancy Office, two and four-legged residents at the Emerald Terrace Apartments beat Hollyburn Properties’ eviction notices and won the right to stay in their homes.
In the Decision, the Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) extensively reviews the evidence provided by the tenants outlining the lengthy history of the existence of pets in their units, and reviews the landlords’ claims that they were not aware of the pets until well over a year after purchasing the building. The DRO also notes that the landlords’ agents must have been willfully blind to the presence of pets in the tenant’s apartments during suite inspections. The DRO concludes that based on the actions of the previous and current landlord, the pet clause in the tenants’ tenancy agreements are not considered a material term. Therefore, as the tenants did not breach a material term, the notices to end tenancy are set aside.
In other words, the landlord knew about the existence of pets, and did not find them a problem, until the tenants refused to get rid of them.
West End renters get to keep pets, stay in building