Tenants from 15 apartments are being forced to find new accommodations this summer as they’ve been evicted from Thornwood Place apartments at 1028 Inverness Rd.
Stacey Piercey is one of the tenants, and said the eviction letter came with only two months notice, an unfair amount of time to find new lodgings in the middle of a housing crunch with Greater Victoria’s vacancy rate at .05 per cent.
“This is a renoviction, two months is not enough, we’ve been here three years,” Piercey said. “This is happening all over the city. From my perspective we’ve lost control of the economy, we’re taking units off the market.”
The new owner of the building is believed to be VPEA, a company that houses international Chinese students in Canadian cities and is repurposing the building, though they did not return a call from the Saanich News.
Coun. Fred Haynes said this is another reason Saanich needs to heighten the priority on local housing and affordability.
“Let this be a strident call to the need for housing in Saanich,” Haynes said. “International students are an important economic [and cultural] factor but we need to house our working class.”
While most of the tenants have already moved out, Piercey and her partner have come up short on finding a decent accommodation. In protest, they’ve filed a dispute over the eviction and have a hearing scheduled for Sept. 7.
Piercey’s not the only tenant against the eviction.
Brent Summerfield has lived in the building for 12 years and collated a list of recent upgrades, including a new hot water system in 2017, roof upgrades in 2016, hardwood floor additions in suites from 2015 to 2017, all new exterior light fixtures in 2014 and more.
Like Piercey, Summerfield was told verbally the building was being renovated to house international students. But despite several requests, Summerfield said he was unable to obtain any information on the renovation, permits or rezoning.
“If the renovations are short term we should be able to move back in and pay the same rent with no increase,” Summerfield said.
Ironically, the tenants of Thornwood Place have been putting up with years of construction as a new building recently finished next door, Piercey has watched and listened to the construction of the multi-building Shire project from her balcony over the past year.
“According to regulations there’s nothing wrong with this apartment,” Piercey said. “They don’t have to evict everyone at once, they could do one floor at a time.”