Vancouver Tenants Union plans demonstration against eviction of senior at Belvedere Court

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      The Vancouver Tenants Union has called on city residents to attend a rally outside Mount Pleasant apartment building.

      At noon on Tuesday (January 2) at 2545 Main Street, they'll be protesting the eviction of a senior, Steve Williams, who's lived in the Belvedere Court building for 27 years.

      The tenants group alleges that more than a third of the building’s 35 units are vacant. 

      It also claims that new management wants to re-rent the building at higher rents.

      "The last pockets of affordability in Mt. Pleasant are disappearing and seniors are being rendered invisible with the gentrification of the area," the Vancouver Tenants Union states on its Facebook page. "Affordable, community-oriented businesses that catered to the elderly and low-income community have largely vanished with rising and unregulated retail rents."

      The group says that the eviction of Williams "is unfortunately not an isolated incident, but a trend in Vancouver".

      "Seniors are targeted due to their long-term tenancies, which, due to lack of broader rent control, means that they are some of the last tenants with affordable rents left in Vancouver. Increasing rental rates, the likelihood of being targeted and bullied by landlords, and the loss of familiar businesses and landmarks all contribute to seniors becoming isolated and being pushed out of their neighborhoods. More and more seniors are losing their homes and becoming homeless because homes are now investments and market forces are out of control in our city." 

      The Vancouver Tenants Union calls on governments "to protect us with policies to stop renovictions like rent control, renoviction protections, downzoning our neighbourhoods, limiting speculation and condo development, building more social housing and lobbying hard for better incomes". 

      Among its demands is tying rents to the unit rather than to the tenant, which would eliminate the incentive to kick people out of their units under the premise of making repairs, and then renting them out at a much higher rate.