Bill Appledorf, a tenant of one of Starlight Investments’ properties in James Bay, said he feels residents are being “vibrated out” by constant drilling at his building. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

James Bay tenants seek renter protection, compensation for ongoing construction

Residents say they’re exhausted by noise after ongoing renovations

Over 100 tenants in James Bay apartment buildings owned by Starlight Investments are banding together to file complaints with the Residential Tenancy Branch, claiming their lives have been significantly impacted by ongoing construction.

Although tenants in the four apartment complexes haven’t been given eviction notices, they say they’re being pushed out by years of construction. Not only that, they say, they’re exhausted by constant drilling of jackhammers, and have had their privacy compromised due to crews using scaffolding by their windows.

RELATED: More residents fall victim to ‘renovictions’

Because of Victoria’s low vacancy rate, tenants are desperate for housing, said Paul Mitchell, who organized an event at James Bay New Horizons on Saturday to help fellow tenants through a dispute process with the branch. Tenants are asking for a 50-per-cent reduction in their rents, retroactive from the start of the construction period, and a guarantee they will not be evicted once renovations are complete.

While some tenants have already moved out, others stayed despite being exhausted by the construction process.

“Tenants really try to hang on, suffer through it regardless of these conditions … because they want to hang on to this housing,” Mitchell said. “Every now and then you forget, and you think you’re going to take a day off, and you wake up in the morning and the grinding of the construction starts.”

RELATED: Tenant relocation plan recommended in Victoria city staff report

Bill Appledorf has lived at Regent Towers in James Bay for two years. He said disruptions such as the noise and vibrations from workers using a jackhammer have made his life and those of other tenants miserable.

“They drive you out like insects. They vibrate you out,” he said.

Although conditions have improved recently, Appledorf said at times his water has been turned off without notice, and living on a construction site can be overwhelming.

“We’re dealing with really intense, extreme, industrial-grade demolition equipment that is very, very disruptive, very, very loud,” he said. “It goes on week after week, month after month, year after year. It’s just making your life horrible with noise and disruption.”

RELATED: Property owner defends ‘renovictions’ decision

Coun. Jeremy Loveday also attended the event. He said residents told him their lives have been significantly disrupted, that they did not feel adequately informed by their landlords, and that they were scared of being “renovicted.”

“Sixty per cent of residents in Victoria are renters,” he said.

“I think the City needs to do more to help renters, and we need changes in provincial law to make sure tenants have protections.”

On Saturday 64 new people signed up for the joint effort to ask the properties’ management company Devon Properties Ltd. and Starlight Investments to compensate renters.

Neither company could be reached for comment by deadline.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

 

Tenants of properties owned by Starlight Investments meet at James Bay New Horizons on Saturday to discuss collectively filing grievances with the Residential Tenancy Branch related to ongoing construction work at their buildings. Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS

Regent Towers at 415 Michigan St. in James Bay is one of Starlight Investments’ properties where tenants are filing grievances with the Residential Tenancy Branch over what they say are ongoing construction disruptions. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

Just Posted

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Four-sailing wait at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal

Full vessels create long waits on Friday afternoon

A year in tent city: Timeline of Camp Namegans

Since September 2017, Victoria’s homeless camp has set up in more than 20 locations

Tent city campers prepare to leave Uplands Park

Vehicle access remains restricted at Cattle Point

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Most Read