West End renters alarmed over “demovictions”: What to do?

Three-storey walk-up rental apartment, VancouverSince 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.

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We are aware that this can be an extremely stressful process for anyone. Here are some initial suggestions.

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