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

Beached boat grounded by weather in Oak Bay

20-foot fibreglass sailboat ended up ashore

Civilian living at CFB Esquimalt faces drug trafficking, assault charges

Noah Currie is currently in prison after Jan. 8 arrest

High winds force several BC Ferries sailing cancellations

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, and Duke Point to Tsawwassen among closures

Facebook comment inspires donation of 2,000 lbs of oranges

Root Cellar gave fresh fruit to the Mustard Seed in Victoria

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

VIDEO: Ballet Victoria’s take on the The Nutcracker tours Vancouver Island and the Mainland

Performances in Revelstoke, Coquitlam, Chilliwack and Victoria

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

‘Both things are true:’ Science, Indigenous wisdom seek common ground

Reconciliation between Canada and First Nations is playing out not only in legislatures and courtrooms but in labs across the country

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

Lower-than-expected parcel volumes helping cut into backlog, says Canada Post

The Crown corporation says that’s largely because it is taking in fewer holiday parcels than expected

Most Read