Vancouver mayor calls for more renter protections as residents fight 'greed evictions'
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Vancouver’s mayor is renewing calls for tougher legislation to protect tenants as residents of one West End rental building fight what they call “greed evictions.”
Residents of 1168 Pendrell St. say they’ve been subjected to intimidation and bullying in the market rental building since new owners, Plan A Real Estate Services, took possession Aug. 5.
Eleven eviction notices were issued from Aug. 5 to Aug. 22, 16 tenant notices have been posted on residents’ doors, the cost of washing and drying a single load of laundry in the building has been increased to $13.50.
Tenants also face a possible 30 per cent rent increase.
Residents, with the help of West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert and the Tenant Resources & Advisory Centre, have vowed to fight Plan A at the Residential Tenancy Branch.
Five dispute resolution hearings have been schedule so far, starting Sept. 16.
On Thursday, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said the city was keeping an eye on the “extreme” case and wants to see changes made to the Residential Tenancy Act.
“Renovictions have been a big concern for the city for a number of years, since I’ve been mayor. It’s really unfortunate to see this issue brewing up again,” said Robertson. “We’ve pushed hard on the B.C. government to take action and remove the loophole that enables renovictions.”
The provincial government, meanwhile, believes the Residential Tenancy Branch is able to resolve disputes effectively without legislation changes.
“The Residential Tenancy Branch has had the authority to levy Administrative Penalties to deal with serious, repeated, and deliberate cases of non-compliance with the Residential Tenancy Act since 2008,” reads a statement from the ministry responsible for housing, provided to Metro. “There are no plans to make any changes to the Residential Tenancy Act right now.”
Anoop Majithia, president of Plan A, denies any wrongdoing and accused Chandra Herbert of making “unsubstantiated and inaccurate statements” to media.
“Plan A Real Estate Services does not condone illegal business practices and we conduct our practices in full accordance with the Real Estate Services Act of BC and the BC Residential Tenancy Act,” says a statement attributed to Majithia, posted to Plan A’s website Thursday.
Plan A says Notices to End Tenancy have only been given to “non-compliant” tenants and that “no tenant has been formally asked to pay 30% additional rent” while its application for a rent increase is being considered by the RTB.
Majithia is out of the country, but plans to speak to media Friday.
-with files from Emily Jackson