Charter House at 435 Michigan Street in James Bay is one of Starlight Investment’s properties where tenants are filing grievances with the Residential Tenancy Branch. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

James Bay tenants find a sympathetic ear in Minister of Housing

Property owner Starlight Investments also responds to renters after tenant meeting

  • Jan. 12, 2018 12:00 a.m.

B.C.’s Minister of Housing is supporting additional renter protection as tenants of four apartment buildings in James Bay step up their action in an ongoing dispute with property owner Starlight Investments.

Selina Robinson has asked the Residential Tenancy Branch to provide an information officer to help the group understand the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants, and to answer questions about the dispute process. The province is improving protections for renters by increasing funding for the Residential Tenancy Branch and closing lease loopholes, she added.

“We are committed to ongoing improvements to address the many challenges facing renters in our tight rental market,” Robinson said in a statement. “I have directed ministry staff to review the Residential Tenancy Act and prepare additional options to strengthen protections for renters facing other challenging situations, including those being evicted due to renovations and demolitions.”

RELATED: James Bay tenants seek renter protections, compensation for ongoing construction

Starlight Investments also came forward following a tenants meeting last week. The company is in the process of a multi-million dollar restoration and renovation project of buildings it purchased in 2015 at 415 and 435 Michigan St., and 350 and 360 Douglas St. The renovation work includes both structural and cosmetic improvements, including retrofitting balconies and the exterior, elevators and interior common areas.

“The scope and size of the restoration work, as well as the financial commitments required, were significant, but they were necessary,” said spokesperson Danny Roth in a statement. “While we understand renovations cause substantial disruption, we are committed to ensure construction is done with as minimal interruption and inconvenience as possible for our residents and neighbours.”

The company hopes to complete the remaining work by the end of year.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

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