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Local councillors call for protection for tenants caught up in 'reno-victions'

Last Updated May 12, 2016 at 10:23 pm PDT

(iStock photo)

Municipal leaders advocate for renters at meeting in Whistler.

Report for City of New Westminster says 'reno-victions' are becoming more commonplace.

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) –┬áLocal municipal representatives have emerged from a meeting in Whistler calling for changes to the Residential Tenancy Act.

The Lower Mainland Local Governments Association has passed a motion to have the issue discussed later this year during the Union of BC Municipalities meeting.

Members of the associaiton want more protection for tenants displaced by so-called ‘reno-victions.’

As it stands now, a rental building owner can evict tenants if major work needs to be done on the complex. That owner is free to set new rents when the building has been renovated.

New Westminster city councillor Lorrie Williams say the law should be amended to allow previous tenants to move in and pay the same rent as before.

“It’s a silent tragedy, it really is. People have been living 13 to 15 years in one place, their kids are going to school in the neighbourhood. Over 50 per cent of our citizens are renters.”

The association’s motion comes on the heels of a report out of the city of New Westminster, which says the practice of displacing tenants in order to renovate rental buildings is on the rise.

“We need people, not just people who can afford to live on this side of the Fraser River. People want to live in New Westminster. You know what? We are losing a lot of young people,” says Williams.

The report recommends the city make sure renovation permits are in place before an owner can evict tenants. It also suggests providing renters’ rights resources on the city’s website.