Tenants living at 2626 Cook St. received eviction notices after being notified that the property owners intend to renovate the entire building.

The eviction notices give residents 60 days to move-out and find alternative housing, but this may be a challenge given Victoria’s low vacancy rate.

“With a less than 1 percent rental rate, it is unlikely that anyone will find a place in the two months time that the residency Act allows for… The money that will be required for movers and other costs will make it almost impossible for some of the tenants to meet these deadlines,” said Richard Gillett, a current resident of 2626 Cook St.

Headwater Projects, the Vancouver-based company that owns the building, told the TimeColonist that the building will be completely renovated, and will therefore need to be completely empty for 6-months.

“In terms of major renovations being the only option, I think you need to appreciate that it is a rare exception that all this old stock has been maintained and repaired over the 40-60+ years of its life and now it has reached the point where either complete teardown of major renovations (to the studs) is necessary. There’s asbestos, mold and other health and safety issues,” said David Hutniak, CEO of LandlordBC.

Although these notices are legal, many still suggest that these “renovictions” are cause for greater concern.

“In the context of Victoria’s housing crisis, the ‘renovictions’ at 2626 Cook Street are particularly devastating. The potential displacement of 32 families exemplify the need for stronger protection of tenant’s rights,” said Emily Rogers, a Legal Advocate for the Together Against Poverty Society (TAPS).

Previously the NDP has, unsuccessfully, tried to pass a private members’ bill increasing the protection of tenants.

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