Tenants of a newly-built Vancouver rental tower are facing sharp annual rent increases, and they say owners are taking advantage of a legal loophole to jack up the prices.
Many residents of The Lauren, a rental-only building owned by Westbank Corp. in Vancouver’s West End, are being notified that their rent is being raised at a rate higher than what’s allowed in Residential Tenancy Regulation, according to the tenants.
But the hike is completely legal — because they signed fixed-term leases with move-out clauses.
Lindsie Arbeiter, one of the original residents of the building since it opened its doors in 2014, has seen her rent go up eight per cent — from $1,550 to $1,675 — over the last two years. She says the hikes are slowly forcing her out of her apartment.
“I feel like Westbank doesn’t have an incentive to keep the current residents there, because there’s so many people that want to live in our building,” said Arbeiter. “I’m sure there’s a ton of people willing to pay the rent if we can’t.”