Property manager says they want to avoid evictions
The company at the centre of an ugly landlord-tenant fight in Vancouver's West End opened its doors to CTV News today. Hollyburn Properties wants people to know it is willing to compromise to avoid evictions – but some tenants aren't buying the company line.
The company's property manager showed CTV News two smaller renovated suites it would like to swap for unrenovated suites occupied by tenants Andrew Simmons and widow Lynne Stevens.
"The suites in questions are within 50 square feet or so, of one another. The layouts are a little bit different," said the property manager.
Both Simmons and Stevens believe they are being "reno-victed." Although it's illegal, some landlords do try evicting on the pretense of the need for significant renovations. Once longterm tenants are out they hike up the rents.
"Hollyburn has a lot of people frightened," Stevens said.
Stevens, 82, has lived in Emerald Towers for 41 years and is fighting cancer. She believes a move could harm her recovery.
If she and Simmons move out voluntarily Hollyburn says it will pay all moving costs to the smaller suites and their rents will remain the same. Simmons wants to fight in the courts but Stevens may settle.
"She knows what Hollyburn is doing is wrong, but at the same time, she knows she's had three weeks of a lot of unneeded stress," Simmons said.
"I thought maybe they had a heart," Stevens told CTV News. "But they don't have a heart or soul. It's all about money."
CTV News obtained a record from the legislative assembly showing the company being accused of just that back in 1981.
Renters' rights groups say they're gathering evidence of even more renovictions in the West End and plan to keep up the pressure.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger.