Tenants of a 60-year-old apartment tower in the West End are facing eviction due to major renovations planned for the building.
Residents of the Berkeley Tower at 1770 Davie Street will rally Wednesday to protest what they are calling unfair evictions by the building’s owner, Reliance Properties.
Reliance is planning major structural work to the building, which has never seen significant upgrades. The entire project will take up to two-and-a-half years to complete with apartments open to the elements and without heat, water and fire safety systems for significant periods of time.
The building’s tenants were served with eviction notices in June, and were offered compensation by Reliance, at an average of $10,000 per unit. Reliance says the compensation is nearly double what is required by the provincial government.
“Reliance Properties knows the lengthy and comprehensive reconstruction project is difficult news for tenants, and to reduce impacts, we are significantly exceeding what governments require of us,” said Jon Stovell, president and CEO of Reliance Properties, in a statement.
Reliance says several tenants have already accepted the compensation package.
The Vancouver Tenants Union says a proposal by a group of tenants to relocate temporarily while the renovations are underway — and keep the current rent rates — was rejected by both Reliance and the city. The group says the proposal would have allowed the tenancy agreements to continue during the renovation period.
Organizers with the Vancouver Tenants Union say some tenants have lived in the building for 40 years and don’t want to move.
Reliance says repairs the building will include the envelope, remediation of exterior walls, replacement of all windows, removal and replacement of the building’s water supply, electrical and heating systems, as well as removal and replacement of all bathrooms and kitchens.
The company says existing tenants will get right of first refusal on the renovated units once the project is complete, but at market rates. Reliance says the work will ensure the tower continues as a dedicated rental building well into the future.