Former COPE councillor says renters evicted for renovations need more support

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      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.

      Comments

      20 Comments

      2nd Nation

      Aug 2, 2012 at 4:31pm

      1. Renters need legal protection, yes. That said,
      2. Landlords invested in/ bought the property.
      3. Landlords have by far the most to lose (i.e. have the most risk).
      4. Landlords make the housing available on their own initiative.
      5. Landlords sometimes need or want to make upgrades to their property.

      What's the issue?

      jonny .

      Aug 2, 2012 at 4:36pm

      Waaaaa waaaaaaa. This lady is not ENTITLED to rent FAR BELOW market value. No one is. If she is really poor, she would be entitled to help with her rent from the government, but this lady is not poor.

      A property owner has every right to renovate their units to bring in more income. If you hinder that even more than it currently is, then landlords will stop renting, and all those rental buildings will turn into condos.

      I pay $1530 a month for a 1 bedroom condo, NOT including utilities. Yes, its high. If I wanted to live in a trashy apartment that hasnt been upgraded since the 70's, then I could find a place for $1100. If I wanted to pay $850 a month for rent for a 2 bedroom, I would move to the rural areas of Surrey and have a very long commute.

      There is huge support for tenants being evicted for renovations. They get a whole year notice!!! And I think they also get 1 months rent paid to them for "moving expenses".

      This lady should either be grateful she had a place at such a reduced rate for so long, or she should have purchased her own property, which would have been paid off by now.

      0 0Rating: 0

      VancitySteve

      Aug 2, 2012 at 5:35pm

      Why is Ellen Woodsworth still in the newspapers? She's an unemployed politician, also known as a complainer. Get a job, deal with it and move on.

      Jiff

      Aug 2, 2012 at 7:06pm

      Yay! It's not enough that the North American middle class is getting increasingly boned right up the arse - we need to cheer it on! Dissent is whining! The status quo must be upheld! Yay!

      Taxpayers R Us

      Aug 2, 2012 at 7:16pm

      Why didn't she carry it further? A judicial review in the courts would probably have cost her less than a month's rent, and if she couldn't afford it, she could have applied for indigent within a week.

      It's pretty well-known that the RTB sides with landlords, so a proper court might have sided with her.

      HodgePodge

      Aug 2, 2012 at 9:15pm

      Looks like this lady has to deal with reality like the rest of society. No sympathy here!

      Wankoover

      Aug 3, 2012 at 9:09am

      While I'm sympathetic to a point - $825 for a two bedroom off the Drive, including utilites, is well below market value.. I'm familiar with the location of her former rowhouse, and I'd hazard a guess that property taxes alone probably cost her landlord $100/mo not to mention maintenance and insurance. On top of that, the place hasn't been renovated in at least 33 years...

      There's no easy solution for affordable rentals, but considering Woodsworth was making $60k plus a year and spending less than 16% of that on accommodation - WELL below the standard benchmark of 33% - I would assume she's managed to save a good chunk of cash. I'm hella more sympathetic to my friends making minimum wage and living in a $1350/mo basement suite.

      Chris234

      Aug 3, 2012 at 9:41am

      Welcome to reality Ms. Woodsworth!

      Wankoover

      Aug 3, 2012 at 9:56am

      @Taxpayers R US

      Right you are! Go tie up court resources, maybe even seek out legal aid while you're at it!!
      /end sarcasm

      Ironically, petty court grievances and self-centred whiners looking to exploit our legal system are symptomatic of the sense of entitlement in our society that cost taxpayers and bleed resources away from things like - affordable housing
      Taxpayers R Us indeed

      Martin Dunphy

      Aug 3, 2012 at 12:24pm

      Wankoover:

      No basement suites cost $1350 per month.
      And even if you were able to find such an anomaly, no one earning minimum wage could possibly pay that rent.
      Landlords, generally speaking, renovate suites for one of two reasons: because they have been ordered to or because they want to jack up rents well past what is legally allowed in the normal course of events.

      To call those caught up in such greed-motivated machinations "self-centred whiners looking to exploit our legal system" says more about yourself than those upon whom you cast aspersions.

      Ellen Woodsworth is not looking for your, or anyone else's, sympathy. She is merely expressing her concerns about the lack of support she discovered for tenants with few resources fighting such evictions.
      That motivation is undeserving of anyone's contempt.