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Residential Tenancy Branch sides with renters in Port Coquitlam renoviction case

Port Coquitlam mayor Brad West says the new rules would protect tenants of rentals such as these from "predatory" landlords who jack up rents over cosmetic renovations.
Port Coquitlam mayor Brad West says the new rules would protect tenants of rentals such as these from "predatory" landlords who jack up rents over cosmetic renovations. Global News

The B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch has sided with tenants in a mass renoviction case in Port Coquitlam.

Cheryl Sanftleben doesn’t have to move out of her rental unit at 1955 Western Drive that she’s been living in for more than two decades, the branch ruled.

“Oh, I’m over the moon,” said Sanftleben. “It has been so stressful.”

READ MORE: Mass ‘renoviction’ in Port Coquitlam worries tenants

Earlier this year, building owners handed out eviction notices, ordering about 100 renters to move out by the end of June for building upgrades.

But tenants argued they had an ulterior motive: to give the building a face-lift and jack up rents for new tenants.

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WATCH: (Feb. 27, 2019) Port Coquitlam residents losing homes to ‘renovictions’

Port Coquitlam residents losing homes to ‘renovictions’
Port Coquitlam residents losing homes to ‘renovictions’

However, evidence submitted to the tenancy branch indicated none of the contractors doing work for the landlord said the units actually had to be vacated for work to proceed.

“Having found that the landlord’s building and construction industry professionals have largely not articulated that the building must be vacant in order to complete the renovations, I find that the landlord’s response to the question of their good faith intent does not adequately meet their onus to establish they do not have another purpose or ulterior motive for ending the tenancies,” the decision by the branch reads.

READ MORE: Port Coquitlam moves ahead with tough new anti-renoviction bylaw

Sanftleben heard the news Monday night and she’s relieved her apartment is still her home.

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“Like the weight of the world is off my shoulders, for all of us,” she said, describing the feeling.

The 51-year-old building is home to about 100 tenants, mostly seniors who have been living there for decades.

A landlord or tenant can apply to the Supreme Court of British Columbia within 60 days for a judicial review.