Given notice before the pandemic, this B.C. renter still fears being evicted
VANCOUVER -- Michele Empey grew up in East Vancouver, and for the last 18 years she's lived in a modest duplex a block north of Trout Lake.
Her 92-year-old building was recently sold, along with an identical one in the same lot, and three months ago she received notice that she was being evicted. She was told the buildings will be knocked down to make way for townhomes.
"I must be out by April 30 at 1 p.m.," Empey told CTV News in an interview from her porch Monday.
Late last month, the B.C. government announced it would put a moratorium on eviction notices during the COVID-19 crisis, but because Empey received her notice before it began, that paperwork is still valid.
"A notice given before March 30, 2020, is a valid notice, and statutory timelines are in effect," it says on a government website with questions for tenants and landlords.
The website goes on to say most evictions won't be enforced until after the provincial state of emergency has ended – but there are some exceptions.
"Orders of possession cannot be enforced until after the state of emergency except under exceptional circumstances, for one of the following reasons," says a portion of the provincial website, "The rental unit must be vacated to comply with an order of a municipal, provincial or federal authority, and it would be unreasonable to wait for the state of emergency to end."
The building Empey lives in is scheduled for demolition with a new development set to rise on the site, and she says the owner has all the necessary paperwork from the City of Vancouver.
Even with rent increases over the 18 years she has lived in her home, Empey still only pays $700 per month and she knows she won't find anything in that price range these days.
"Most of the things I'm looking at are basement suites because they tend to be the cheapest but even those aren't inexpensive," she said. "$1,200 is sort of the going rate for a basement suite. And that's unaffordable for me."
Empey, who has also lost her job as a cleaner since the coronavirus crisis began, has tried to contact a few landlords with listings on Craigslist but so far none have replied.