Renovictions come to Port Coquitlam, but mayor looks to ban practice

Port Coquitlam is the latest city in Metro Vancouver to deal with renovictions, as the controversial practice popped up in the municipality earlier this year.

A renoviction is the term used when a landlord evicts a tenant in order to renovate the unit, often for cosmetic reasons. The landlord then charges a higher rental rate.

Around 100 tenants from a 50-year-old building on Western Dr. were handed eviction notices — some having lived there for more than 30 years — because the landlord said he intended to make cosmetic changes.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West says the tenants were told they could return once the renovations were done  — but at twice the monthly rent they were previously paying.

However, West is adamant that this will be the first and last renoviction in his city, as council prepares to vote on a proposed business bylaw amendment next week, which could prohibit the practice.

"It's important to me and to city council that we're protecting our residents from what is a very predatory practice," West told On the Coast guest host Jason D'Souza.

City of Port Coquitlam

What's proposed?

The new amendment would affect landlords — defined as individuals who run a suite-rental business with five or more units — who plan to do cosmetic renovations to their building.

Under the amendment, the landlord would be required to temporarily accommodate the tenants elsewhere. When the renovations are finished, the tenant would be allowed to return at the same rental price.

West says the amendment is based on a similar model recently passed in New Westminster.

'Unsatisfactory' efforts by the province

The province enacted its own measures to clamp down on renovictions last year, including requiring landlords to provide increased notice for evictions as well as offering those evicted the choice to move back in to the newly renovated units at the market rate, when the evictions happened because of renovation or repair.

However, West says the province's efforts are "unsatisfactory."

"They went in tinkering around the edges," said West. "The part they missed was actually ending the practice of renovictions."

He believes the government made a mistake by not going far enough and says cities must take their own measures to protect their residents from the practice.

Residents of Port Coquitlam will be able to have their say next Tuesday when the amendment is before council.

You can listen to the full interview below;