Tenants cry foul over Olympic eviction
Last Updated: Monday, December 7, 2009 | 3:16 PM PT
Some East Vancouver tenants say they are being evicted so their landlord can make more money during the 2010 Winter Games.
Susan Brown is one of eight tenants at a Mount Pleasant house who received eviction notices two weeks ago. When she moved into the house in July, Brown said, she signed a lease that was to end Jan. 31, with the understanding it would be extended when it came due. Instead she got a notice saying she would have to be out by the end of January, just two weeks before the Vancouver Olympics begin on Feb. 12.
The notice also said the owner needed the house for immediate family.
But the tenants' quick search of the web found the house listed as an Olympic rental, with the owner asking nearly $12,000 a week in rent. In comparison, the tenants have been paying about $500 a month each for rent.
Brown, who is studying for a master's degree at Simon Fraser University, said the eviction has thrown her life into turmoil.
"What it means right now for me is I'm just in a really precarious position. ... I'm having to put some of my research and plans on hold in order to find a good place to live," she said.
Brown and the other tenants say they believe the eviction is illegal, because the owners appeared to have lied to them on the official eviction notice.
Laura Track, a lawyer with the Pivot Legal Society, said it is unclear if the eviction was illegal, but the tenants could fight it through the provincial Rental Tenancy Branch.
"What's disturbing about this is the reason given for the eviction is so clearly dishonest," Track said.
She said it is also likely the owners are violating the city's own rules on Olympic rentals, because the home will be occupied in the month leading up to the Olympics.
The tenants said they need to get on with their lives and find places to live, and they don't plan to fight the eviction.
"I'm just feeling really vulnerable, violated, lied to and really stressed out," Brown said.
The situation shows why the B.C.'s residential tenancy legislation needs to be strengthened to protect renters from evictions in these situations, Track said.
"My sense is this is just the tip of the iceberg," she said. "Here we are at the beginning of December, and this is when I imagine these situations will really start to ramp up."
The homeowners did not return calls for an interview.
Latest British Columbia News Headlines
- Drug users sue Abbotsford over anti-harm reduction bylaw
- Advocates for needle exchanges are suing the City of Abbotsford, saying the city's bylaw which bans harm reduction centres violates basic human rights. more »
- What kind of home can $380,588 buy?
- The national average price for a home rose to $380,588 in April 2013, an increase of 1.3 per cent from the previous year. But what can a house hunter expect to find for that price? more »
- Traffic circle accidents worry Kitsilano residents
- Residents along a popular biking lane along Vancouver's West 10th Avenue are concerned traffic circles are causing an increase in accidents between cars and cyclists. more »
- Harper to address Tory caucus amid Senate scandal
- Conservatives gathered Monday night to mourn the passing of a key architect in their rise to power — and to brace for the toughest test Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has faced since taking office on a promise to clean up politics in the national capital. more »
Top News Headlines
- Oklahoma tornado recovery work begins after deadly storm
- Recovery efforts after underway after a tornado flattened two elementary schools and many homes south of Oklahoma City, leaving 24 people dead, including seven children. U.S. President Barack Obama responds by promising federal aid and other help. more »
- 'Upset' Harper wants fast Senate spending reform
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the Conservative caucus this morning that he's "upset" about the recent conduct of some senators and members of his own office, and he wants Senate spending rules tightened quickly. more »
- Horwath will support Ontario Liberal budget
- Ontario voters may get some indication today from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on whether the province is headed for a spring election. more »
- Keith Boag: Have you heard about the murderous abortion doctor?
- The gruesome trial and murder conviction of Philadelphia abortion provider Dr. Kermit Gosnell is unlikely to change American abortion law, Keith Boag writes. But it has U.S. journalists questioning their priorities and how they cover such a sensitive issue. more »
- Fearful Oklahoma families search for children
- The parents and guardians stood in the muddy grass outside a suburban Oklahoma City church, listening intently as someone with a bullhorn called out the names of children who were being dropped off — survivors of Monday's deadly tornado. more »
- B.C. man feared kidnapped in Mexico
- Canadian on EI shut out amid foreign worker influx
- Vancouver man attacked, killed in Costa Rica
- Vancouver link to Hadfield's space guitar
- Nanaimo Facebook group takes aim at thieves
- Petition looks to rename Victoria Day
- Bid to re-open Langley Speedway
- Public raising funds to buy alleged Rob Ford crack video
- East Vancouver residents in 'guerrilla gardening' campaign