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Skyline Towers ACORN Tenant Union takes a stand against $1 million rent hike! - ACORN Canada

Skyline Towers ACORN Tenant Union takes a stand against $1 million rent hike!

Posted November 6, 2023

New West ACORN and organized tenants at Skyline Towers took a stand last Friday November 3rd, rallying to demand their landlord Bayside drop a million dollar rent hike.

Changes to the Residential Tenancy Act in 2021 opened a new avenue for BC landlords to raise rents on top of the normal yearly increase allowed, through something called an Additional Rent Increase for Capital Expenditures (ARI). Landlords who do eligible repairs or renovations on their buildings can now apply to pass on the entire cost to tenants through rent increases, with few options for tenants to fight back.

When tenants at Skyline Towers learned their landlord intended to use the new rules to pass on $1 million+ in elevator replacement costs to tenants–they got organized and geared up to fight. Countless hours canvassing the building, holding tenant meetings and going to City hall for records culminated in a rare victory this April. By proving continued poor maintenance and negligence of the elevator, tenants became one of just a handful of buildings where ARI’s have been defeated when the RTB ruled in tenants’ favour in April of this year.

Now we’ve learned that Bayside is taking tenants to the Supreme Court to fight to overturn that RTB ruling.

Tenants have taken the first steps to respond to the Supreme Court challenge, and took to the streets Friday to call for action on the larger issue of ARI’s.

New West ACORN Chair and Skyline Towers resident Monica Bhandari summed up the atmosphere of the crowd: “This is a David and Goliath situation. It’s [our landlord’s] building, their profits, but our money being used to fund these repairs. How is that fair?”

ARI’s are becoming increasingly common in BC, with the vast majority of cases decided in favour of the landlord. Part of the problem is how complex the process can be. The only way to defeat an ARI is for tenants to prove neglected maintenance or a lack of routine repairs on the building element in question.

Facing an ARI in your building? It’s time to get organized! Reach out to us and join the fight!