Pine Crest Townhomes landlord Steven Rodrozen, said on Nov. 2, they received no notices from evicted tenants to secure a first right of refusal on the renovated units. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Pine Crest Townhomes landlord Steven Rodrozen, said on Nov. 2, they received no notices from evicted tenants to secure a first right of refusal on the renovated units. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

No first crack at renovated units for Prince Rupert Pine Crest evicted renters

Landlord said they received no notices securing first right of refusal

Renters evicted from a Prince Rupert townhome complex that required extensive renovations won’t get the first crack at renting their old units.

No units will be granted under a first right of refusal law for Pine Crest tenants who received renoviction notices in February 2020, when the landlords stated they required vacant units for repairs.

Fifteen of the 32 units are nearing renovation completion after extensive cosmetic and infrastructural repairs such as electrical, plumbing and underground waterlines, Steven Rodrozen, a principal partner in 1232949 B.C. Ltd., which owns Pine Crest Townhomes, said.

Social media is abuzz with comments and many questioning the work being completed, previous tenants moving back in, and the advertised rent of the units.

Paul Lagace, tenant advocate at the Prince Rupert Unemployed Action Centre, assisted tenants with the renoviction process and negotiated an agreement last year between the landlord and tenants. He inspected the renovated units on Nov. 2, and confirmed renovations are underway as the landlord has advertised.

“It was a valid eviction. If there is any question about it, the work required is legitimate. The landlords have been honest,” he said, adding there is a process for the first right of refusal tenants must follow, which is set down by the Residential Tenancy Branch.

Rodrozen said the company prompted tenants to follow RTB procedures to secure their first right of refusal to a renovated unit.

“We reminded all tenants in our communications to please follow the process outlined by the B.C. tenancy branch before vacating their units. This requires written notice of the Right of First refusal — before vacating,” Rodrozen said.

The RTB outlines the process for a tenant wanting to return and secure a first right of refusal to a renovated unit. The process has changed in the months since the Pine Crest evictions occurred.

Michael Cox, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Attorney General and minister responsible for housing, told The Northern View, the process back in 2020 was any landlord who needed a unit vacant to perform renovations was required to serve the tenant with a Four Month Notice to End Tenancy for Demolition, Renovation, Repair or Conversion of a Rental Unit – RTB 29.

The right of first refusal applied to buildings with five or more rental units. However, the responsibility is on the tenant to secure that right, as outlined on page three of the RTB-29.

“It clearly states that a tenant wishing to exercise their right of first refusal must give the landlord notice, using the RTB-28 form,” the spokesperson said. “The right of first refusal notice was required to be given by the tenant, to the landlord, before the tenant moved out of the rental unit,” the ministry stated.

“We didn’t receive any such notice from any of the tenants,” Rodrozen said.

If a tenant had exercised their right, the landlords would have been required to provide the first opportunity to enter into a new tenancy agreement at least 45 days before the rental unit was available.

“Since the parties would be entering into a new tenancy agreement, the landlord could set the rent at any amount. The rent amount would not be what it was at the time the tenancy ended,” the ministry said.

The three-bedroom units were advertised initially on social media at $2,150 per month and were reduced to $2,000.

Lagace said the cost is unfortunate, adding it is the going rate.

“We still need more affordable market housing,” Lagace said. “The reality is most folks that lived there probably would not move back for a rate such as that.”


K-J Millar | Journalist
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