New West Newsleader: Landlord misses cleanup deadline

October 12th by Michael McQuillan in the New Westminster Newsleader

A landlord who is evicting a 63-year-old woman from her New Westminster apartment did not meet an order from the city and the Fraser Health Authority to make the woman’s suite safer.

According to Fraser Health, the landlord was unable to comply because they could not get access to Catherine Battersby’s suite. But the woman’s son, Sean Neilson, says the landlord never contacted her before the deadline.

Van-East Investors Inc. of Vancouver was given until Sept. 30 to have a pest control company deal with a mouse infestation and correct sanitation problems in Battersby’s Carnarvon Street apartment.

After an inspection by Fraser Health and a City of New Westminster bylaw officer, the property owner was issued the compliance order Sept. 16.

“My mother has had to deal with mice and black mould since the day she moved in here,” said Neilson. “And all those times we’ve complained and nothing has been done.”

The pest control company finally got into Battersby’s apartment and other problem suites in early October. The company is using traps and bait to rid the apartments of the rodents, says Fraser Health.

“That won’t do much good if the mice are living in the walls,” said Neilson, who is now paying his mother’s $690 monthly rent.

Neilson says he is also going to fight his mother’s eviction notice and already has an Oct. 18 date scheduled for a Residential Tenancy Branch arbitration meeting.

Battersby, who suffers from spinal stenosis—a gradual narrowing of the spinal canal that can cause pain and weakness—enlisted the help of ACORN Canada in early September. ACORN has fought for low income tenants in New Westminster in the past.

The group staged a rally Sept. 10 on her behalf—after she was given the eviction notice so the landlord could renovate the suite.

ACORN spokesperson Amanda Boggan said Battersby’s situation highlights the need for policy change at both the municipal and provincial levels.

“We want to see the city create policies that will not give permits to landlords to take on renovations that will result in a tenant’s eviction,” said Boggan.

“And the province needs to put a cap on the increases a landlord can put on a vacant suite. Currently, there are no regulations in place for this.”

— With files from Sean Kolenko

Original article available at: http://www.bclocalnews.com/greater_vancouver/newwestminsternewsleader/news/104780924.html