West End landlord denies allegations of 30-percent rent increases

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      The owner of a West End building is refuting allegations that his tenants are facing an illegal 30-percent rent increase, following a press conference this week when residents described a series of notices they'd received since a new company took over their building last month.

      During a teleconference this morning, Anoop Majithia, the president of Plan A Real Estate Services Ltd, told reporters that “the only communication that tenants have received with respect to any irregular increases has been an information notice stating that the landlord is considering filing an RTB-16 application with the Residential Tenancy Office”.

      According to Majithia, the potential rent increases the owner is applying for have been “significantly overstated”.

      “The truth is, for over 50 percent of the units in this building, the average rent increase being applied for is under 20 percent," he said.

      Examples of notices to tenants of 1168 Pendrell Street shared by MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert’s office advised residents of a “pending application for additional rent increase” given that the current rents are “significantly below market value".

      “We have the paperwork…that shows that yes he’s written the tenants and says that he wants a rent increase—in some cases 29 percent, in another case 32 percent,” Chandra Herbert told the Straight by phone.

      Majithia began his statement to media today (September 12) by apologizing to the tenants of 1168 Pendrell Street and acknowledging that some have had a negative experience since management took over the building last month.

      “I truly empathize with their situation, and I understand how the notices they received from my company could create a sense of uncertainty about their tenancies,” he stated.

      "I think it’s important for all parties to understand the events that have led to the current state of affairs, and how we can work towards a solution which can lead to a more harmonius situation."

      He noted that current tenants all signed leases with the previous building owner that imposed obligations such as a requirement to maintain insurance.

      “I think that the stress that’s being experienced by us and by the tenants really is primarily resulting from a misunderstanding over their lease obligations, because the previous landlord didn’t enforce them in a way that I believe was required,” said Majithia.

      Chandra Herbert reiterated today that the "wider issue" is the need for changes to the Residential Tenancy Act, and for B.C. to “get tough on landlords that break the rules”.




      Sep 13, 2014 at 12:09am

      Politicians grabbing the limelight misstate the facts to over inflate their value to constituents lead to erroneous
      headlines and wasting reporters time!

      West End Resident

      Sep 13, 2014 at 1:52am

      So much negative, one sided news in the last couple of days about this building....it's nice to know that the press has the integrity to report the other side of the story as well....this landlord was unjustly portrayed as a tyrant!


      Sep 13, 2014 at 2:01am

      Agree with SK, a good reminder that there are two sides to every story - would've been nice if MLA Chandra Herbert had taken the time to get his facts straight first instead of just rushing for a good sound bite...


      Sep 13, 2014 at 2:04am

      I guess renovicting got too expensive.

      John J

      Sep 13, 2014 at 9:10am

      The fact is the Landlord served these people with written notice that he intends to raise their rents up to and over 30%.

      And he raised laundry priced by over 300%.

      And tell tenants that tenants must carpet their bathrooms(!) and kitchens at their own expenses.

      So what part of the Tenants story isn't true?

      I would ask why is the Straight not telling us the full story here?


      Sep 13, 2014 at 11:54am

      Undercut the tenants through nefarious (legal, mind you) means. This sounds a lot like what happened to the short-haul truckers, silvaculture workers and any janitors or farm workers hoping to earn a living wage.


      Sep 13, 2014 at 1:27pm

      "And tell tenants that tenants must carpet their bathrooms(!) and kitchens at their own expenses."

      I'm not siding with the landloard, but anybody who would carpet a bathroom and/or kitchen is an idiot. A carpet in the bathroom would get moldy and one in the kitchen would be destroyed by grease. That's why bathrooms and kitchens have non-porous surfaces. No landlord in their right mind would carpet those areas because they would need to replaced every few years.


      Sep 13, 2014 at 1:35pm

      It isn't the tenants faults that they got caught up in a politician's rhetoric. At no point did the tenants state that they got notices of a 30% rent increase. They have indicated that they received letters from the landlord indicating that he will be applying for an above-guideline rent increase.

      All of that said, how could a landlord not know that a 300%+ increase in the laundry would upset tenants. How can he in good faith say that he only issued eviction notices to non-compliant tenants when he issued eviction notices for lack of tenant's insurance to tenants who provided proof of it. The tenants have proof of having provided a copy of tenants insurance before the eviction notices were issued. Did you know that one of the tenants who got the eviction notice for not having tenants insurance after providing proof is visually impaired. He brought this up with the landlord, and the landlord told him to take it to the RTB.

      He wants the RTB to decide on the materiality of terms? Well I am sorry sir, it isn't you that brings things to the RTB. It is the tenants that have to fight each and every one of your notices. Issuing an eviction notice doesn't automatically trigger a Dispute Resolution hearing. Can you imagine how difficult it is going to be for someone that is visually impaired who can't see to gather evidence to dispute these notices?

      Aren't you the same landlord that asked tenants to carpet every "traffic area" and then defined "traffic area" as being "any part, of any floor of your unit on which an occupant may step with their feet."

      You said it yourself, “I think that the stress that’s being experienced by us and by the tenants really is primarily resulting from a misunderstanding over their lease obligations, because the previous landlord didn’t enforce them in a way that I believe was required,.”

      Mr. Landlord, you went to lawschool yourself. So you should know better that if the previous building manager accepted the tenancies as is, you can't suddenly step in and impose new obligations. Even if a tenant's husband name is not listed on her lease.

      I can't wait to hear about what happens at Dispute Resolution and hope that the media reports on that.

      You did this to the building. Those tenants did not fight back. These ones will.

      Maybe you should back off and focus on your existing AirBnB units in the condos. The reviews are quite bad...

      A Smith

      Sep 13, 2014 at 5:11pm

      It is in the Landlord/Tenancy Act that Landlords must inform their Tenants to obtain their own content insurance but they can't force them, they just have to have asked. This allows Landlords to charge a little more for Tenants who do not obtain their own insurance because the Landlords building insurance rises for every uninsured Tenant they have. But the rates are not enormous and hardly add up to a 20%-30% discrepancy. This sounds like a misunderstanding of the Act on the part of the Management company and the Tenants.