One Tuesday Jan 29th, Hastings Sunrise tenants met to initiate a VTU local chapter in this renter-heavy neighbourhood.
Close to 40 people were at the inaugural meeting last week at the local public library on Hastings, the majority of them renters from the neighbourhood for whom this was a first VTU meeting. At the meeting, we each took turns to introduce ourselves, talk about our current housing situation and discussed how we can join forces, through starting working groups or campaigns, to tackle tenants concerns in the neighbourhood.
Most common concerns raised were about:
- maintenance issues, especially with tenants living in old houses or basement suites,
- Insecurity of tenancy due to landlord’s passing on the business to their children or new owners who may in turn try to evict tenants through various means - a renoviction or a demoviction.
- Insecurity of tenancy arising from interpersonal issues with landlords
After discussion, the Hastings Sunrise chapter will be focusing on a few projects and trajectories:
- Campaign to expand the City of Vancouver’s Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy (TRPP) to apply to tenants in basement suites and small buildings, especially for tenants who face demovictions from houses due to change of ownership and land assemblies.
- Working with tenants in older rental buildings, especially the ones recently sold, to self-organize against reno- and demovictions;
- train tenants to be peer educators and advocates in order to raise awareness about tenants rights, stop predatory buyouts, illegal rent increases, illegal fixed term leases, and other tenant abuses.
- Sweep the neighbourhood to identify and map rentals in the single family home areas and work to unite tenants at the block-level and protect this invisible class of tenants.
Next steps for chapter members:
- Attending advocacy workshops to become tenant advocates
- Participate in weekly doorknocking shifts in the neighbourhood to connect with new tenants and help existing members to organize their buildings (contact us to get involved!)
- Reach out to tenants and other VTU members in the neighbourhood to plug them into the chapter’s activities
- Participate in the TRPP-expansion working group to help lead this campaign (Stay tuned)