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Dan Fumano: After complaints, the real estate firm claims to change the model



The group of Vancouver companies is trying to change the way they do business, said representatives this week in response to questions about their practice buying old apartment buildings and paying long-term tenants who left or emigrated.

This week, as the Vancouver City Council is considering measures to protect tenants from "renovation" and "aggressive buying", dozens of tenants have visited the chamber council to share sometimes painful stories, and one group of landlords has been repeatedly hovering.

Lawyers say these cases are an example of the need for tougher laws and better enforcement in cities with almost zero vacancy rates and rising rents.

And with the Vancouver Council and B.C. government scales that could make it difficult for tenants to be renounced for renovation, said representatives of these companies, including Coltric Properties and VS Rentals, that it is harder and "changing our entire model."

On Tuesday evening, Valerie Farina shared the story of her 23-man Manoa Yew apartment, bought by Coltric in September, and immediately began offering money to tenants to make them leave. Green Coun. Pete Fry asked questions about Farina, seemingly surprised that out of all the complaints he had recently received about Coltricus and VS, Farin's building was not even on his radar.

"I add it to my list of messages I have on VS-slash-Coltric," Fry said. "It's not on my list."

Since September, Farin's new landlords offered ten escala fare offerings to the tenants with the latest Monday dinner. "We are pleased to inform all tenants, and to help them with this transition, we have made a new offer," writes in a written offer before sketching out what's on offer: $ 5,000 buy-in bonus, three-month rent, 500 dollars for moving, and a reference letter.

Farina told the real estate manager she was willing to temporarily move to make a reconstruction, so she could come back later, she said, but felt she was being pressured to take the money and leave the new tenant.

"Their emphasis is rather on choosing people," Farina said. "It was just this real effort, and this constant had argued that he had to let us go."

But when PostSedia News contacted VS Rentals on Wednesday, Vice President Christopher R. Evans said he planned to let Farin and other tenants know that they could either stay during the reconstruction or return.

When Postmedia sent a message later to Farina, she said, "Wow, that's not exactly what we were told … Until that moment, we had nothing but: "You will be gone sooner or later." "

While real estate owners often say renovations are needed to keep most regions of the aging living quarters inhabited, tenants advocate that displacement is often a tool for landlords to exclude long-term residents and raise rents to increase profits. Vancouver senior staff said in a recent report that these types of displacement notifications often come with new owners who buy a building.

"A significant increase in market rents in recent years has created an environment where unit turnover can bring significant returns for owners, and low vacancy rates make it relatively easy to find new tenants willing to pay new, higher rents," said a recent letter from Dan Garrison, housing policy and regulation in Vancouver, addressed to BC government housing units.

"We have heard of these cases most often when the leased property is sold to the new owner, while long-term owners usually prefer to keep a stable rent, new owners can turn to a unit as a way to earn revenue from the new investment."

When the 90-year-old Manoa Yew was put up for sale earlier this year, the sales brochure stated that the construction between net operating revenues fell between $ 170,000 and $ 175,000 a year, net of repair, maintenance, property taxes, insurance, other "different" operating costs.

The sales brochure also noted: "Roofs and plumbing have already been replaced by a reduction in capital."

Evans stated that the operating costs included in the sales brochure did not include the costs of mortgage financing that are substantial. However, Evans did not question the further details in the sales brochure, such as maintenance costs and the fact that the roof and plumbing were replaced. The owner, whose name is listed in Manoa Yew's sales brochure, Terrence Harding, is now interested in this property.

Harding, who confirmed on Wednesday that he was a sales agent, is one of two directors of Yew Street Nominee Ltd. from 1875, B.C. a company that bought the property on September 17 for $ 10.5 million, or about $ 1.5 million below the $ 12 million listed in the brochure. Another director, Zvonimir Duric, is the director of Coltric Properties.

Coltric, a wholly owned subsidiary, and its sister company, VS Rentals, a management company, are part of a network of linked companies that have recently acquired a number of leased real estate across Vancouver, Evans explained.

As part of the business model of the company, as in Manoa Yew, it has been involved in the purchase of "unsuitable" buildings, improving them and renting them to new tenants at higher tenants, "Evans said," but now it's getting to a point where it's difficult. "

"We're going to change our model, it's getting harder," he said. "The reason is, I think with most media attention most tenants do not want to leave. "

"I do not feel good doing what I do," Evans said. "We are community people, we feel bad about what's going on."

David Hutniak, Managing Director of Landlord B.C. "I personally do not know the company or the director, so I can not talk about their involvement in the industry. I say Landlord BC does not support" renovation "and it's certainly not an industry-proven practice … We believe that most the landlord did not have to terminate the rent for renovation or repair, even if it was easier or perhaps a little more economical to finish the job. The landlords doing this step unnecessarily disadvantage tenants and frankly damage the wider industry. "

Earlier this week, The Vancouver Sun reported that in another West End building owned by VS Rentals, tenants fought against promulgation and last month received a decision from a residential rental branch only to receive a notice of withdrawal a second week later.

Evans refused to answer how many properties of his own company.

But coun. Fry said he received complaints about about a dozen Vancouver Metro buildings owned by companies.

"It's very important to me," said Fry, who earlier this month presented a proposal to create a tenant's law firm in Vancouver.

"I will not ask anyone to make money, but we have to be fair and inefficient," Fry said. It seems that the renovation practice in Vancouver was profitable, Fry said, adding: "Those days will hopefully end, because I think we'll start seeing a new direction from the city council."

with the writings of Carolyn Soltau

dfumano@postmedia.com

twitter.com/fumano


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