Posts Tagged ‘ACORN’

Tenant Independence Day?

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

July 18th, 2012


 ACORN Wants to Amend the British Columbia Residential Tenancy Act!

What’s Happening?

A US based group now in Canada has started a new campaign called “Healthy Homes”

Healthy Homes?  That Sounds Like a Good Thing

The group is called ACORN.  Their campaign is to get the province to amend the British Columbia Residential Tenancy Act.

How Would that Create “Healthy Homes”?

ACORN’s Susan Collard claims to hear stories from tenants that are horrendous “all the time.”  She says one of the most important issues tenants face is trying to get repairs completed.

According to Collard, some tenants have fought their landlords for two and half years trying to get repairs done.

I’m a Landlord and I Do Repairs on my Properties ASAP!

Collard continued: “[They’ve] been battling landlords for two and a half years.  It has gone to Supreme Court and so far all [they’ve] gotten out of it is an eviction notice and the repairs still haven’t been done.”

So What is Her Proposed Solution?

She says one solution is proper enforcement.  Collard explains explains too often complaints won’t be taken seriously.  “To use what laws we currently have to the full extent.  You need reforms around the amount of time it takes to get repairs done.”

What Reforms are Proposed?

Collard adds the structure of the  Residential Tenancy Branch also needs to be re-jigged to ensure it  has both sides of the story.  Currently, Collard says the branch will only speak with the landlords.

Is The Government Going Along With Their Proposals?

The NDP has responded.

Let Me Guess, the NDP Wants more “Tenant Rights”

The British Columbia NDP housing critic Shane Simpson remembers visiting a rental property in his Vancouver riding.

Simpson recalls: “It had been left in disrepair for years and years,” he said. “The roof of the building collapsed.”

Does Simpson Want to Change the Residential Tenancy Act?

He believes the Act lacks tools for tenants to “push back” and battle “bad landlords.”

Simpson believes that after substantial renovations tenants should have the right to return to the rental at “fair rates.”  He also wants the province to be able to intervene in situations where municipalities are not taking action.

According to Simpson there is no doubt the Act needs to be reviewed, and changed.

So the NDP Agrees With ACORN?

It looks that way.  Which means the next provincial election is very important for BC landlords and investors.


Fighting Your Landlord Brings…An Eviction Notice?

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

June 22nd, 2012

Who Received an Eviction Notice?

Sue Collard is chair of the Whalley/City Centre chapter of controversial low-income advocacy group ACORN Canada. Collard was a former building manager at Kwantlen Park Manor and is now a tenant there.

Why is this Newsworthy?

It’s getting media attention because of who the landlord is and the timing of the eviction notice.

Who is the Landlord?

The landlord is Gurdyal Signh Sahota and his company called “Waterford Developments.”

In March, the BC Residential Tenancy Branch gave a $115,000 administrative penalty — the first of this type of penalty — against the owner Gurdyal Singh Sahota and his company Waterford Developments.

The May 15 deadline passed last month, and Sahota hasn’t been paid and the roof hasn’t been fixed.

On May 31, Collard and three other tenants occupying front-facing second-floor suites received letters ordering them to move out by July 31 because the landlord needed to do necessary repairs.

The Landlord has Begun to Do Repairs.  What’s the Issue?

Because Collard is very angry.  She states:

“Despite the number of large headlines that the province is taking action against scofflaw landlords, well, they’re still scoffing.”

Collard continues:

“Despite the number of large headlines that the province is taking action against scofflaw landlords, well, they’re still scoffing.”

Collard also says:

“I am now left wondering about the complete and utter grotesque absurdity of the entire process.”

“They have not paid the fine, not done the work, now they are issuing notices and so far, the only thing the province is doing is ‘negotiating,’” she said.

What Does the “Fine” have to Do with Evicting To Fix Things?

A spokeswoman for the housing ministry said no one at the Residential Tenancy Branch was available to be interviewed.

“The Residential Tenancy Branch is still in discussions with the landlord,” said an emailed statement from the BC ministry. “We can’t comment on the specifics while negotiations are underway.”

Payment of the penalty is “on hold” while an agreement is negotiated, the email said.

What is Collard Doing Now?

Collard is disputing the eviction notice and has a hearing scheduled Thursday.

Isn’t this Kind of Like “Extortion?”  Using the ‘Fine’ to try to Take Control and Avoid Evictions?

Many people agree with you.  Let’s see what happens.


Landlord Gurdyal Singh Sahota fined $115,000 by Residential Tenancy Branch

Monday, March 26th, 2012

March 26th, 2012


Whalley chairwoman for ACORN  and tenant at Kwantlen Park Manor stands in front of the building she lives in and used to manage.  Her landlord Gurdyal Singh Sahota was the first to be fined by Residential Tenancy Branch.

Gurdyal and his company Waterford Developments fined $115,000

The residential building, which houses 31 suites and nearly 40 occupants, is known for rotting deck railings, decayed ceilings and walls that look to be about ready to sink.  This led to Gurdyal and his company to receive the first administrative penalty under the BC Residential Tenancy Act.

Gurdyal and Waterford Developments did not follow an agreement made in May 2011 to fix a constantly leaking rook at the building in North Surrey.

How did they come up with $115,000?

The break-down to the fine is as follows.  A one-time fee equaling $5000.  Then, a fine of $500 per day until fixing the ceiling since a deadline on June 2011.

What does tenant and former building manager Collard think?

The fine was “warrented” says Collard.  She continues on saying the building has had “deteriorating conditions” for over two years.

She is very skeptical whether the repairs will in fact ever be completed, as many of the units are empty.

“It’s been pretty hellish,” Collard said. “No tenant should have to endure a continuing situation where there are no repairs getting done. We don’t know when we will get repairs. We are hopeful we will following this decision.

Who is Gurdyal Singh Sahota?

The Sahota family own several buildings considered “problematic” in Metro Vancouver.  This include the Pandora hotel where the roof collapsed and the 36 tenants were given a $170,000 settlement because they were made to leave the unsafe building.

Acorn compares the conditions at Kwantelen Park as similar to the Pandora hotel in 2005, two years before the roof whent down.

So what is ACORN?

ACORN is a very controversial group originating in the Unites States and have been moving into Canada over the past few years, especially the province of Ontario.  The Ontario Landlords Association has debated the merits and sincerity of this group.

What about the Government?

Rich Coleman, the B.C. minister responsible for housing, said administrative penalties are only considered for “serious, deliberate contraventions of the act.”

“It should send a message to these landlords — and there’s not many of them — who decide they’re going to flout certain responsibilities they have to their tenancy agreement with these tenants,” Coleman said Tuesday.