This story was originally published on The Mainlander and has been reposted here with permission. Click here to read the original article by VTU members Tintin Yang and Ben Ger and the Our Homes Can't Wait Coalition. Photo credit: Andrei Mihailiuk
August 16, 2023: Yesterday tenants from 2325 Glen Drive delivered a collective letter to their landlord, Deecorp Properties Ltd. The letter, signed by a supermajority of tenants joined together as the China Creek Tenants Collective (CCTC), calls on Deecorp to cancel the eviction notice that was served to their neighbour, Keir Nicoll.
The notice Keir received claims that the landlord intends to move a building caretaker into his suite. Two of the building’s 12 units are currently already unoccupied and listed on Airbnb. Keir has lived at 2325 Glen Drive for 16 years, paying affordable rent thanks to his long-term tenure in the one bedroom apartment.
Renters from across the city joined Keir in solidarity and were supported by their neighbours in the Vancouver Tenants Union’s Mount Pleasant Chapter. As Keir spoke out against his wrongful eviction, a massive, printed-out Airbnb listing for a suite in his building was stuck to the office door behind him – a one-bedroom unit rented out for $5,860 a month. Artin Properties, the management company employed by Deecorp at 2325 Glen Drive, specializes in Airbnb management and short-term rental marketing. The Airbnb host, Jordan Deyrmenjian, who has posted the unit, alongside over 140 listings across Vancouver, has managed to profit heavily off short-term rentals and by extension, the immiseration and eviction of tenants across the city.
Meanwhile, Vancouver councillor Lenny Zhou, of the ABC Party, has been publicly advocating for cutting tenants protections and making it easier for landlords to evict low-income renters. Governments of all levels continue to fail on their promises to address the tenant crisis, which disproportionately affects low-income and marginalized residents. Crisis is an inherent feature of our housing system, which views housing and land as commodities to be controlled by the few at the expense of the many.
In recent years Deecorp has had their hand in building rentals for the ultra-wealthy and billionaires, explicitly for the aim of helping rich property speculators skirt property taxes. Back in July 2020, media reported on Deecorp’s pitch to lease out their 3-unit Beach Avenue property on a 30 year lease, a measure which would exempt buyers from BC’s empty homes tax, as well as the property transfer tax on foreign buyers.
Keir’s building has also recently been sold again, last listed for sale at $5,750,000. The sales brochure boasts its proximity to VCC-Clark station, with the Broadway upgrade to the Millennium Line as a key selling point. The incentive here for Deecorp is to remove all tenants, but especially long-term tenants, in order for the building to be easily renovated (or demolished altogether) for a wealthier clientele. Most tenants were displaced during a mass reno-viction campaign waged by the landlord a few years ago, with Keir being the last remaining tenant from before the substantial remodelling and increase to rents.
Organizers with the VTU had a clear message for the crowd in attendance: “Only tenants united in a union can put an end to the gentrification and displacement crisis. Join the VTU and organize in your building!”