Since Vancouver City Council adopted the West End Community Plan in November 2013, West End Neighbours has received a number of inquiries from renters who are alarmed about being evicted from older rental buildings. Developers either buy them up, then demolish them, and build luxury condos and/or expensive new rental buildings, or empty them of tenants, renovate them (sometimes with the creation of additional smaller suites) and then rent them out again at higher monthly rents.
Below are excerpts from a recent message to WEN from a concerned resident:
I’m a resident of [an older West End rental building], and I’m sure you’re aware my building is slated for demolition. From the start, this process has been extremely stressful. In a normal situation I would simply move, but considering I have a pet and I’m facing a rent increase of as much as $500, I am basically being booted out of the West End after building a life and career here. Some extremely vague assurances have been made … However I’ve seen nothing in writing and nothing official from the city or developer as to what will be done. Considering the rental situation in the West End currently, an offer of $1000 to put me out on the streets is a slap in the face. I don’t want money, I want a place to live.
We are aware that this can be an extremely stressful process for anyone. Here are some initial suggestions.
- Seek help from the City of Vancouver to have the developer clarify the tenant relocation package.
- Consider contacting your provincial MLA, Spencer Chandra Herbert. He has been very supportive of renters’ rights.
- Note that the City has recently adopted a Tenant Relocation Policy, which is intended to assist people dislocated by development projects. Here are some links:
- The policy: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/tenant-relocation-and-protection-policy.pdf
- General information: http://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/city-recommends-new-protections-for-vancouver-tenants-rental-housing.aspx.
- Q&A: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/tenant-relocation-protections-and-policy-frequently-asked-questions.pdf.
- Try to learn more about your specific rezoning or development project. Usually, you can find the name and contact information for a planner at City Hall who is responsible for the project. Try these links:
- To contact the City for more assistance or information, you could also write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 311.