British Columbia

Seniors face eviction from East Vancouver apartment over $41 rent increase

Miroslav Pinkowski said he wasn't aware his rent had been increased until a warning appeared on his door.

Property management said notice of rent increase was hand-delivered; tenants say they never received it

Pages of correspondence between his property managers, the Residential Tenancy Branch and eviction notices sprawled out across Miroslav Pinkowski's couch. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Some tenants of an East Vancouver apartment are facing eviction over a rent increase they claim they were not made aware of for months.

The small two-bedroom unit was home for almost 16 years to 65-year-old Miroslav Pinkowski, his dog, Soldier, and his two roommates.

"My dog is over 12 years with me. He's 16 years old and I don't know ... nobody (is) going to take me with a dog," said Pinkowski.

Pinkowski's rent was a little more than $1,000 a month.

Pinkowski said his dog, Soldier, has been one of his longest companions. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The building's property management company, First Services Residential, sent him an eviction notice in January claiming he had an outstanding balance of around $240 due to an increase he says he was not aware of.

Pinkowski said the money, which worked out to around $41 more per month, was no issue for him and his roommates.

"If we knew that, it would never come to that point," he said.

Still, he said, their property managers would not accept their late payment.

Pinkowski reads through a Residential Tenancy Branch ruling that sided with his property managers. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Tenancy branch sides with property managers 

In a written letter received by Pinkowski, the property management company said the rent increase notice was hand delivered to him, but he says he never received it.

However, FirstService Residential, the company in charge of managing the building, said in a statement to CBC News the day after this story was published that advance, recorded notice of the rent increase was given.

Pinkowski brought the case to the Residential Tenancy Branch, but it dismissed it. Now, he and his roommates have to be out of the apartment by April 15.

Peter Lagudis is an old friend of Pinkowski's, who just moved in with him not long ago.

Peter Lagudis said he may have to leave town to find a new place to live. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

"He offered me the place but look what I walked into, this situation," said Lagudis, 55.

"If I have to go out of town for a job again. I'll go out of town."

"The rent is going up," said Pinkowski. "I know they're renovating the suite and they are going ... instead of $800, they're going [for] $1,700."

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