September 2nd, 2013
Vancouver readers we have a big dispute between a landlord and tenants (and tenants and poverty activists).
The issue is over rooms at 259 Powell.
What Is the Problem?
According to the Province the Downtown Eastside activists says the landlord has evicted a couple of people without following the rules.
They also claim the landlord has ‘bribed’ some tenants to move and speak well of the landlord to counter what the tenants say.
We have posts about bad landlords and bad tenants.
This time the issue is a little different. The conflict is about the debate over gentrification of the Downtown Eastside.
What Does the Landlord Say?
Geoffrey Howes, of Living Balance, said the company recently succeeded in legally evicting a tenant who was a “major drug dealer.”
Howes said there have been two legal evictions in the building, adding: “We have had ongoing problems with rampant drug dealing in the building.”
Howes said dealers would leave the alleyway door propped open, and threaten caretakers and other tenants. “We had strangers lining up in the hallway at all hours, needles everywhere.”
“We got support from the tenancy branch to evict the primary dealer,” he said, offering documentation from the branch.
“The fact is, the only people we evict from any properties are for nonpayment of rent or illegal activities.”
Howes said seven other tenants have left the building for other reasons.
What Do the Tenants and their Representatives Say?
At a press conference called by Pivot Legal Society on Thursday, anti-poverty activist Wendy Pederson blinked back tears and accused Living Balance owner Steven Lippman of “harassment and intimidation.”
Pivot housing lawyer DJ Larkin said: “What is happening to the residents of the York Rooms is a violation of human rights.”
Larkin added: “It is a crisis and something needs to be done now.”
To discuss this and other Vancouver landlord and tenant issues go to the BC landlord forum.