Stop the Reliance Properties Renovictions

Dear Mr. Stovell

I am calling on you to keep your promise to the renters you demovicted from 1170 Bidwell Street and let them return to their community under the original spirit of the agreement.

The way you have pressured tenants into 90% rent increases is disappointing and reflects poorly on you and your company. As things stand right now, I would absolutely not want to see Reliance Properties come into my neighborhood or community and do this to other families.

You should do better

cc:
Selina Robinson, Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs
Kennedy Stewart, Mayor of Vancouver

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When the residents of 1170 Bidwell first saw a demolition notice on their building, Reliance Properties made a promise that they wouldn't lose their affordable homes. Now they're feeling under threat of eviction unless they sign an $1100 rent increase.

In 2016 Reliance Properties applied for a redevelopment permit of a three-story, 10 unit apartment building at 1170 Bidwell street. To convince City Hall to issue the permits they entered into an agreement with the existing tenants and the City of Vancouver promising to rehouse them during construction, and the right to move into the new building at the same rent.[1] 

Two years later, the former tenants of 1170 Bidwell started receiving communications from Reliance Properties offering them units in the new 108 unit tower at 1188 Bidwell Street. But they feel there was a new condition sprung on them that was not part of the spirit of the original agreement: a massive rent increase.[2]

Instead of honouring the spirit of the agreement with long term tenants, Reliance Properties, which holds hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property, has prioritized making a few extra dollars on top of their massive revenues over honouring a long-term tenant-landlord relationship.  This kind of greedy behaviour from Reliance Properties is disappointing and contributes to the housing affordability crisis in British Columbia.

The City of Vancouver and the Ministry of Housing must work together to put an end to this kind of behaviour by developers and punish companies that say one thing to local city councils in order to secure extremely profitable rezoning permits, and then use legal grey-areas to get around the commitments they made to the community.

Jon Stovell, the President of Reliance Properties has taken to the media to complain about Reliance's tenants of 20 years, claiming that an $1100 rent increase is the "the best relocation offer anyone in the city has had". [3] This is out of touch with the reality of renting in British Columbia and doesn't fairly represent the City of Vancouver's Tenant Relocation Policy. [4]

If Reliance Properties is allowed to go back on their agreement with these tenants, there will be nothing from stopping other developers from saying one thing and then doing another. They have given the tenants until the end of February before filing for eviction so we need to urgently stand together and support them in their fight against one of the wealthiest and most powerful developers in British Columbia. [5]  

Sign the petition to show Reliance Properties and Vancouver City Council that this is unacceptable and must not be allowed.

With your support we can make sure that we win this fight, and show developers they can't strong-arm tenants, and run roughshod over our communities whenever they please.

Sources:

[1] West End renter accuses developer of dirty tricks over relocation agreement (CBC)
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/west-end-renter-accuses-developer-of-dirty-tricks-over-relocation-agreement-1.5418037

[2] Vancouver couple battles with landlord over rent increase (Global News)
https://globalnews.ca/video/6392009/vancouver-couple-battles-with-landlord-over-rent-increase

[3] Vancouver landlord, tenants disagree on terms of relocation provision in unusual rental arrangement (Globe and Mail)
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-vancouver-landlord-tenants-disagree-on-terms-of-relocation-provision/

[4] Tenant Relocation and Protection Guidelines (City of Vancouver) 
https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/tenant-relocation-and-protection-guidelines.pdf

[5] Profile of Jon Stovell, president, Reliance Properties (Business in Vancouver)
https://biv.com/article/2015/06/profile-jon-stovell-president-reliance-properties