Residents of 15156 Victoria Ave. say they’re at risk of losing their affordable housing, from left, Elizabeth Soper, Jack, Jane, Dan, Anthony. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Residents of 15156 Victoria Ave. say they’re at risk of losing their affordable housing, from left, Elizabeth Soper, Jack, Jane, Dan, Anthony. (Aaron Hinks photo)

White Rock tenants, landlord to go to RTB hearing over ‘renoviction’

Low-income tenants dispute claim they must relocate for work to be completed

A group of low-income White Rock residents, some of whom are seniors, are concerned they’ll lose their affordable housing as a result of “renoviction.”

The residents of 15156 Victoria Ave. contacted Peace Arch News this week and said they each received an eviction notice indicating that they have until June 30 to leave the property.

The tenants live in a 90-year-old house, which was converted into six bachelor suites a number of years ago.

Elizabeth Soper, who has lived on the property for nine years and pays $743 per month, said many of the tenants are on fixed incomes, and units that come at a similar cost are nonexistent.

She contends that tenants should be allowed to stay on the property while renovation work takes place. The renovation, she said, involves seismic work and construction of a retaining wall.

“There’s no reason for us to have to leave the building,” Soper said.

According to the Residential Tenancy Act, landlords can end tenancy for renovation if the landlord has permits and approvals prior to giving notice; the landlord must intend, “in good faith,” to renovate or repair the rental unit; and the renovations or repairs must be so extensive that they require the rental unit to be vacant.

SEE ALSO: Rent freeze, construction rules fuel housing shortage, B.C. NDP told

Soper said tenants were offered a compensation package from the landlord that includes two month’s rent – one more than is legally required – and $250 for moving expenses. The package is contingent on the renters moving out by the end of April. Instead, the tenants contacted the Residential Tenancy Branch to pitch their case. They will be heard in July.

“The work that needs to be done here with the retaining wall and seismic work, that can all probably be done in a month,” Soper said. “He’s coming into suites and revamping so he can jack up rents.”

The owner of the property, Peter Cindric, said the renovation work is somewhat more extensive, and includes electrical, plumbing, seismic upgrades to the south-facing wall, and replacement of the windows.

He said the upgrades are “very overdue” and that, while he doesn’t feel good about evicting his tenants, “I have no choice. I have to do this.”

He said he’s aware of his tenants’ concerns, but that it would be “impossible” to do the work without evicting them.

“All of a sudden the tenants became the experts in construction,” Cindric said.

In addition, he said, he cannot get insurance coverage for construction unless the tenants are out.

“It’s so much trouble that I’m going through now… I’m thinking, God forbid, something happens to the building. The wiring is so old. If the building burns down or if somebody gets hurt, I’m going to be kicking myself for years to come. When I’m trying to improve the building and make it livable, I’m getting into trouble.”

Told of the electrical issue, Soper said it was the first time she heard any concern about the wiring.

“This electrical… this is all new. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of our suites electrically, I can guarantee that.”

The tenants, who are financially limited, said they’re searching for pro bono legal advice as they prepare for their RTB hearings, which begin the first week of July. The tenants are also seeking an engineer to give a second opinion on whether they need to be evicted for the work to commence. The tenants can be contacted at 604-531-1074 or 604-700-7372.

Contacted this week, the City of White Rock said it’s committed to supporting a supply of housing that residents can afford. The city reached out to Cindric to inquire about the possibility of allowing the tenants to stay on site during the renovations.

The city has no role in the RTB dispute resolution process unless it is asked to provide information.

Earlier this year, Attorney General David Eby introduced the Tenancy Statutes Amendment Act, or Bill 7.

The amendment makes it so landlords will have to apply directly to the RTB before issuing eviction notices for renovations or redevelopment.

The law, which is to be implemented July 1, was designed to focus on “bad actor” landlords who use renovictions as a way to circumvent rent controls, Eby said.

– With files from Tom Fletcher

affordable housingrental marketWhite Rock

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor delivering “virtual” State of the City Address on Tuesday. (Screen shot)
Surrey Mayor says city is ‘earning accolades from near and far’

Doug McCallum delivered his second State of the City Address on Tuesday since being elected in 2018

North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. (Photo: larkgroup.com)
North Surrey rink, Newton playground earn B.C. excellence awards

Awards presented by BC Recreation and Parks Association

Surrey Fire Service battled a fire at an apartment building in Fleetwood late Friday night (May 14), near 84th Avenue and 160th Street. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey firefighters collecting donations for people displaced by Fleetwood apartment fire

Fleetwood BIA, community association also band together for donations, help

The George Massey Tunnel will be closed overnight May 28 and 29 to test the tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals. (Black Press Media file photo)
Overnight Massey Tunnel closures coming May 28, 29

Closure to allow safe testing of tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Cat who chases away coyote asked to join Port Moody, Vancouver police 

Caught on camera Friday, the black cat jumps out from under a parked car and runs the wild animal out of a vacant lot

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit released a poster Tuesday, May 18 featuring the names and photos of more suspects involved in Lower Mainland gang conflict.
Police issue warning for 9 more men involved in Lower Mainland gang conflict

B.C.’s gang task force says it’s expecting ‘violence to continue and escalate’

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

Those who disobey could be subject to a $230 fine

Most Read