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The West End evictions and this week’s municipal elections November 10, 2008

Posted by Raul in Focus on Vancouver, food for thought, politics, public policy issues, random thoughts, Vancouver, West End.

If you are a Vancouverite and able to vote (Canadian citizen, older than 18 yrs old), you probably DO know that Vancouver’s municipal election takes place on November 15th, 2008 (8am to 8pm). You can start doing advance voting at 5 locations in Vancouver (read more here).

There’s an issue that I find has not been discussed at length (or maybe it has but I haven’t read much about it in the past few weeks/months) – the issue of evictions in order to increase rent. While I do not live in the West End, I have MANY very close friends, both civilians and tech/social media/PR people who have their homes there.

It does worry me that evictions to renovate and then increase rents continue to happen. This issue is something that has been written about extensively (I’ve read lots of stories in many major newspapers) . The question I have is – does anybody know if the candidates for city mayor have expressed any formal position on the issue?

Why do I think this issue is relevant, when there are others (homelessness, transportation, etc.) that are also key? Well, simply because if the trend continues in the West End, the likelihood that these kinds of evictions will happen (I haven’t read many reports about occurrences of evictions to increase rent outside the West End) in other areas may increase. My main concern, of course, is my own neighbourhood (Mount Pleasant)!

What do you think of this issue?



1. nomademoderne - November 10, 2008

Is this legal? Or are landlords just finding ways to get around the law. When I lived in DC, it was illegal to raise rents above a certain percentage and to kick people out in order to renovate or just to raise the rent. However, there were two common tricks. First, you would have the building declared uninhabitable (i.e. unsafe living conditions), kick everyone out, do your renovations and then rent for a much higher price. You can see how this can be gamed to your advantage as a landlord.

The second trick involved stating that you planned to occupy the premises yourself (works well for large houses that are shared). Everybody leaves, you put in some work, and then “decide” that you don’t want to move in after all and rent it out at much higher rate. This happened to my housemates. Lucky for me, I was in the process of moving out anyway.

2. MJ - November 10, 2008

My take: Have you gone over to kits and looked across to the buildings in the West End recently? It’s starting to look pretty dated and run-down in a lot of cases. Those buildings are mostly 40+ years old.

They are going to need extensive renos inside and out on a fairly regular basis or the whole area will start to look like a shanty town.

I think the businessmen that do the renos and up the rent to achieve a return on investment are probably in it 100% for the money, as opposed to the honourable maintenance of a neighbourhood, but it achieves the same purpose.

My $0.02.

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