Nanaimo St. Demoviction Raises Doubts About Tenant Protection Policy

Image: Tenants at 326 Nanaimo hanging banner outside that reads \

Tenants at 326 Nanaimo are facing demoviction and have joined VTU hoping to secure the rights and compensation afforded them by the Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy (TRPP). All tenants are vulnerable, low income, and have been paying significantly lower than CMHC average rent for the area.

The landlord has hired Reside Community Relations, a public relations firm, to "manage" the renters' expectations of their right to compensation and relocation.

On September 3rd tenants submitted a letter to the new City Renters Office outlining their concerns with the City's decision to place their trust in Reside. The City has not disclosed any explanation for how it determines Reside to be a competent “relocation specialist”, and tenants are seriously concerned about this offloading of responsibility. 

So far, the only thing Reside has done is email the tenants craigslist ads. Many have turned out to be scams and it is clear no vetting was done. In addition,  the units offered do not meet TRPP requirements to be within Vancouver, and of a comparable rent/type of unit. 

Another concern lies with the City's Certified Professional (CP) program, which is intended to “fast track” the development permit process. The CP has forgone its responsibility to ensure that all redevelopment permits were obtained by the landlord at the time of eviction - which she did not. This violation of tenants’ rights was enabled under the guidance of a CP hired by the developer (Lanaca Properties). Furthermore, landlord has expressed verbally to tenants that they believe their responsibility to provide additional compensation and at least one alternate option within 10% of the tenant's current rent is “unrealistic” and “basically impossible.” VTU members and neighbours wrote over 100 letters in support, urging the city not to issue the occupancy permit until tenants’ rights were met.

All of this raises serious concerns about whether the rights afforded to tenants under the TRPP will exist meaningfully in practice. All the while tenants at 326 Nanaimo are working on their own behalf while facing the anxiety and stress of impending homelessness. While the vacate date has been extended to October 14th, the City still has done nothing to ensure that tenants will have the rights afforded them under the law.