Vancouver MLA calls for better protection for renters following eviction notices for West End tenants

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Tenants at a West End apartment building say they’re facing 30-percent rent increases and multiple eviction notices.

At a news conference today (September 10) in front of Hofmann Manor at 1168 Pendrell Street, Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert called the situation a “campaign of intimidation”.

“What this is is a greed eviction,” he told reporters.

“It’s just pure and simple about money. The landlord wants to kick them out so that they can get more money. That’s not how the Residential Tenancy Act is supposed to work. It’s supposed to protect renters, so we are taking this and I’m supporting the renters here, as is the Tenant Resource Advisory Centre, in challenging these evictions and challenging these illegal rent increases at the Residential Tenancy Branch.”

Tenants in the building received 11 eviction notices between August 5 and 22, which are generally not compliant with the Residential Tenancy Act, according to information provided by the tenants.

Neither the director or property manager with Plan A Real Estate Services, which took possession of the building on August 5, could be reached for an interview.

Plan A director Anoop Majitha told the Straight by e-mail that he is currently out of the country. In a statement, he said that Plan A “inherited leases executed by the previous building owner and respects the rights granted to the tenants by both these leases and the Residential Tenancy Act.

“Likewise, Plan A rightfully expects tenants to fulfill their lease obligations,” the statement continued. “In situations where these obligations are not fulfilled, Plan A has issued information notices to tenants.”

Hofmann Manor tenant Absalon Figueroa has lived in the building for four years and says he received three eviction notices within one week.

“Almost every day there’s a notice posted to our door, so it’s caused us a lot of stress,” he told reporters.

“We feel that the new landlords are abusing their position of power with their tenants in order to intimidate us.”

Chandra Herbert said he wants to see the provincial legislation changed so that landlords who make similar attempts to evict tenants face fines and penalties.

“No fines or penalties have ever been issued in the province of B.C. to bad landlords who break the rules in attempt to get more profits,” he said. “The government has had the ability to issue fines since 2006.

“People need to know that…you can’t mess up their right to peaceful, quiet enjoyment of their homes without being penalized, because if we continue this, many landlords just see this as the cost of doing business, knowing that many residents won’t fight.”

He added that he has heard of similar situations faced by renters across the province.

“I’ve been hearing about evictions and these kinds of things in Kitimat, in Terrace, in Prince Rupert, Kamloops, Kelowna, Victoria, New West, Surrey, Burnaby,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter what community you go to—these are big issues.”