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EAST VANCOUVER - Residents at the Mount Pleasant Lions Manor are fighting a 45% rent hike that could leave them homeless. Seniors at the housing complex held a press conference today on their fight against the non-profit Mt Pleasant Housing Society (which owns the building and is run by the Lions Club).
The society has applied for an exception to the annual rent increase limits, claiming the apartments are below market rent. Most of the 36 seniors in the building are on fixed incomes and already pay 35% of their income monthly (the internationally recognized maximum rent level) . If the increase is approved at a Residential Tenancy Branch hearing tomorrow, rents would jump to 50%.
Press conference co-sponsor, the Vancouver Renters Union, blames a provincial loophole that allows apartment owners to evade the mandated one percent plus inflation rate for annual rent increases if the neighbourhood is being gentrified.
The long-term residents at the Lions Manor say they are like a large family and are devastated by the possibility that they could be thrown out. They say they will do whatever it takes to fight the proposed increase. Organizer Jaques-Pierre Cote said "the big thing is to keep this for us and to help everybody - we are a family here."
For more see Lauren Gill`s story on the Lions Manor press conference