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Kitsilano woman faces eviction amid COVID-19 chaos for keeping guinea pigs

Last Updated Mar 25, 2020 at 2:08 pm PST

(iStock file photo)

A Kitsilano woman is facing eviction for keeping pets

The woman only has days to sort out her new living situation despite the chaos of COVID 19

Province will clarify what it is doing to keep renters facing eviction safe as the COVID-19 crisis escalates Wednesday

KITSILANO (NEWS 1130) — A woman from Kitsilano trying to fight her eviction says government and legal offices are either closed or have limited operating hours because of COVID-19, which makes it nearly impossible to appeal.

Ruth Sharpe says she won’t give up her cat and two guinea pigs, which she says her previous building manager grandfathered into the apartment.

“I have kept my one cat and two caged guinea pigs in my Vancouver apartment since 2018. My old building manager had no problem with my pets, but the new building manager [same company] is evicting me for having guinea pigs in a cage,” Sharpe writes on her website.

Still, the residential tenancy branch upheld her eviction on Monday, based on a clause in the lease that doesn’t allow pets.

“So this is obviously extremely worrying in the middle of a pandemic. I don’t want to infect anybody, I don’t want to get anybody else infected. I just won’t be a good citizen,” Sharpe says. “Unfortunately, obviously, if I’m kicked out of my home, that won’t be an option.”

She says government offices and agencies she wants to get help from are either closed or have cut back hours, making an appeal difficult.

The manager, according to Sharpe, denied approving her pets in front of the residential tenancy board.

Sharpe is supposed to be out of her Kitsilano apartment within two days from when her landlord next serves her notice, but she wants to appeal and possibly take the case to court.

“I might have to physically travel to different places to give them bits of paper to save my home. I might have to actually go and travel around, which I’m very worried about.”

Sharpe is among thousands of renters wondering if the premier will announce a moratorium on evictions, which he did on Wednesday.

Even though hers isn’t because of COVID-19, she says, no one should be left out in such dangerous times.

On Wednesday, Premier John Horgan announced rental subsidies, as well as a rent freeze and a suspension of current and future evictions in B.C. during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The rent subsidy, up to $500 a month, will be disbursed by BC Housing.

Horgan also announced a suspension of current and future evictions in B.C. during the novel coronavirus pandemic.