Plan A Real Estate would like to clarify that the events at 1168 Pendrell Street were not driven by greed as Mr Chandra Herbert has been led to believe.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion – and of course we must respect this – but in this case these assumptions are, simply put, ill-founded and naive. What some fail to appreciate is the negative effect below average rents has on West End living.
Many West End buildings require serious renovation and upgrades which can cost millions of dollars. We fully understand the initial shock when facing the prospect of a 20% rent increase. However, such an increase isn’t that shocking when some of the tenants at 1168 Pendrell St are currently paying $500 p/m below the market average. When put into perspective, you can see that this isn’t simply about greed, rather a wish to receive what Plan A believes to be a fair price.
So what is the consequence of below average rents? The answer is simple: dilapidated housing and an overall lower standard of living for West End residents. Plan A can not invest in its property and the well-being of its tenants when rental income barely covers the operational cost of a building. Plan A empathizes with the tenants of 1168 Pendrell and fully understands their frustration and concern. We don’t want to create a negative living experience for any of our tenants. We simply want to ensure that we receive the required financial compensation to provide the standard of living Vancouver residents deserve.
Plan A has been working tirelessly with the City of Vancouver and are delighted to now be a part of a solution that aids both parties. The Tenant Relocation Plan will assist the original tenants of 1168 Pendrell with finding accommodation that matches their criteria. Plan A will provide accommodation options within 10% of the tenant’s current rental price in addition to a relocation fee.
Plan A is committed to providing high quality housing for the residents of Vancouver and will always strive to achieve a harmonious tenant-landlord relationship. As long as tenants fulfill their contractual obligations, we are happy to let them live their lives in peace.
Plan A Real Estate Services Ltd.
887 Helmcken Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1B1
September 12, 2014
Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA Vancouver-West End
923 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC V6G 2L9
Re: Recent Media Coverage for 1168 Pendrell Street
Dear MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert,
I am writing to you in follow-up to your Sept 10th press conference and related statements to the media regarding 1168 Pendrell Street (Hoffman Manor), a 23 unit
residential building purchased by Plan A – 1168 Pendrell Ltd on August 5, 2014.
I would like to start by expressing regret that the tenants have had a negative
experience with our management of the building. For this, I apologize and can understand how the notices they have received may lead to a sense of uncertainty about their tenancies.
That said, you have been cited in the press with asserting a number of allegations towards my company and I believe that you have been misinformed as to the facts in
this case. Unfortunately, we received no prior communication from your office seeking clarification of the tenant allegations and this has resulted in a partial and biased
presentation of this matter to the public. Indeed, rather than contributing to a resolution of the tenant’s issues, I believe your largely unsubstantiated comments have further
inflamed the situation. They have also contributed to unjustifiable acts of public intimidation and threats directed against my company, which has compromised the
safety and security of my office and staff.
I would therefore like to set the record straight and respond to some of the allegations made against Plan A Real Estate Services:
– By way of background, the tenants had previously signed leases imposing
various important obligations such as the requirement to maintain insurance.
When we asked tenants to comply, we faced varying levels of resistance which,
in turn, has required us to issue tenant information notices. This isn’t necessarily
the fault of the tenants as the previous building management had accepted
widespread non-compliance. Tenant correspondence with us has indicated that
many tenants believe they are not required to fulfill their lease obligations based
on the legal principle of estoppel. As documented in several RTO rulings, this is
simply not true as a landlord can return to enforcing lease terms by notifying
tenants of the intent to do so. It should also be noted that the vast majority of
tenants have left us with no option aside from written posted notices, as they
have formally requested no communication through other usual means.
– It has been alleged that an illegal 30% rent increase is being imposed. This is
not true. The only communication that tenants have received with respect to any
irregular increases has been an information notice stating the landlord is
considering filing an RTB-16 application with the Residential Tenancy Office.
This application asks for an independent assessment of current rents compared
to market rents for similar properties. This application has not been filed to date
and no tenant has been asked to pay any such additional rent.
– It has been reported that Plan A has asked tenants to sign new leases requiring
rent increases of 30%. This is not true. Tenants who have voluntarily chosen to
sign a new lease are paying the exact same rent they were paying on their
previous lease. To date, there have been no rent increases beyond the
legislatively allowable 2% annual increase. Please note that sufficient revenue is
required to sustain adequate provisions for the maintenance of this property as
expenses are increasing at a disproportionate rate. For instance, the City has
increased property taxes for 1168 Pendrell by 30% in the past year alone.
Despite this reality, Plan A respects the law and has never sought to illegally
– It has been alleged that Plan A is implementing illegal ‘greed’ evictions based
upon trivial violations such as tenants not having carpeting in their bathrooms.
This is not true. In cases where tenants have persistently been non-compliant
with material lease terms, Plan A has issued Notices to End Tenancy for Cause
which asks the RTO to independently decide whether the violation is material
enough to end the tenancy with appropriate notice to the tenant. To date, such
applications have only been made for material violations including illegal
subleases and unauthorized occupants residing in the building without the written
prior consent of the landlord. These are both material as they allow the landlord
to accomplish the important task of screening potential tenants to ensure the
continued security of the building. When a tenant unilaterally permits another
occupant to live in the building, the landlord is denied the opportunity to perform
this function and this can be to the detriment of other tenants.
– It has never has been my intention to convert 1168 Pendrell into ‘a kind of Air
BnB mini-hotel’ as you alleged in the media. As already agreed with the City, as
of September 1st, there are and will be no short-term rentals at this property.
While I acknowledge that the ownership transition has been difficult on both tenants and
my company, our goal remains to work towards restoring an amiable environment in
which both the landlord and tenants have their rights respected and uphold their legal
obligations. My goal has always been for my real estate activities to have a positive
impact on the West-End community.
Please recognize that we are a downtown Vancouver-based small business with
property holdings in the West-End and, as members of your constituency look to you,
our elected public official, to provide a fair and balanced representation of issues
affecting your constituents. As such, I respectfully request that you publicly
acknowledge and retract the inaccuracies in your earlier statements.
President, Plan A Real Estate Services Ltd.
Geoff Meggs, City Councillor, 453 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Y1V4
Gregor Robertson, Mayor, 453 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Y1V4