Former COPE councillor says renters evicted for renovations need more support
Former two-term Vancouver city councillor Ellen Woodsworth is issuing a personal call for more support for renters facing eviction because of renovations.
Woodsworth will have to move out of her long-time East Vancouver rental home this month.
“It will be 33 years on September 1, so I’m being evicted, then, exactly 33 years after moving in here,” Woodsworth told the Georgia Straight by phone. “We appealed the eviction notice at the Residential Tenancy [Branch].”
Woodsworth said the RTB ruled in favour of her landlord, who is evicting tenants in order to carry out renovations.
Her total rent for the two-bedroom apartment in the heart of the Commercial Drive area, including utilities, was $825, and Woodsworth claimed that the landlord has “tripled or quadrupled” rents in suites around hers that have already been vacated and renovated.
“You know, what I discovered through this process is that there really isn’t a support system for renters who want to stand up against an eviction notice and have a reason to do so,” Woodsworth said.
Woodsworth enlisted the help of the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, but, according to the ex-councillor, the centre gets 2,500 to 3,000 calls a month and only has three staff members.
“I really think that we need to strengthen the existing legislation,” Woodsworth said. “But I also think the province needs to provide some support for renters’ advocacy groups.…It is shocking how little support there is for renters.”
Woodsworth said she has found rental accommodation “in a portion of a house” in Strathcona, but the Coalition of Progressive Electors mainstay said her monthly costs will be higher. She declined to reveal her new rental rate.