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”.