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‘Landlord’ at alleged $1k per month Marpole flophouse didn’t have permission: Owner

New developments in alleged Vancouver flophouse battle
The company that owns a Vancouver home allegedly being run as an expensive flophouse says it had no idea dozens of people were allegedly paying rent to live in the single family home – until the company learned about the situation on Global News. Jennifer Palma reports.

There’s a new development at the Marpole rental house that is allegedly home to as many as 21 tenants, each paying $1,000 per month to live there.

Renters are now learning that the woman they believed was the home’s property manager is herself a tenant and has been subletting the property to others.

“I just found out she’s not even a tenant … she said she’s a landlord, but she’s not. She’s lying,” said Christina Monaco.

READ MORE: $1K per month to rent a tent in a Vancouver backyard? How about 20 roommates?

Monaco, one of the many renters currently occupying the home on West 65th Avenue in Vancouver, told Global News last week that she was paying $1,000 in rent to live in a tent in the backyard.

She had originally rented a room but moved outside due to what Monaco said were dirty, noisy conditions and common space packed with roommates.

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Zhiying Zhou, the woman who rented the 13-bedroom home to Monaco and the other tenants, said she believes she’s well within her rights.

“Nothing is illegal, I don’t think anything is wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong,” she told Global News.

READ MORE: Potential tenants asked to fill out a personality test for Vancouver building

Zhou said she rents to students and foreign workers and that her residence was in compliance with regulations. She also disputes the number of tenants, saying 14 or 15 people live there rather than the 21 Monaco claims.

WATCH: City of Vancouver investigating 13 bedroom rental house

City of Vancouver investigating 13 bedroom rental house
City of Vancouver investigating 13 bedroom rental house

The City of Vancouver said it’s aware of the home and is looking into potential bylaw violations.

As for the other renters, some say they’re already looking for somewhere else to live.

Matt Brodie said he pays $500 a month to split a one-bedroom room with another tenant.

“She’s a little old lady. (I) didn’t expect to get swindled. That’s the way it works,” he said.

The property is one of several owned by the Buffalo Group and slated for redevelopment in the next year and a half.

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Buffalo Group properties slated for redevelopment on the Cambie Corridor.
Buffalo Group properties slated for redevelopment on the Cambie Corridor. Global News

Ritchie Clark, the company’s lawyer, spoke with Global News.

READ MORE: Like a ‘horror movie’: $1,600 B.C. rental packed with mould, rat poop, says man

“My client, the Buffalo Group, discovered this situation through your newscast, and they came to see me right away. The situation is they have a lease agreement with a particular individual. They were unaware that she was renting out to this many people. They’ve taken steps to try and remedy that,” he said.

“They’ve terminated the lease. We’ve devised a sign that they’ve posted on the premises to tell the people who are living there that they’re not permitted to, and my client is working with the city to clean up difficulties with permitting and so on. When they’ve emptied the house and terminated the tenancy, they’re quite prepared to rent to further people, and perhaps as many people as the city will allow who are looking for inexpensive housing.”

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That’s good news for future renters looking for a home, but for right now this situation has left tenants scrambling to find a new place.

“I’m just going to sit outside in my backyard with my tent. I’m not going anywhere,” said Monaco.