A new bylaw regulating evictions for the purpose of renovation (renovictions) may have stalled the planned restoration of a brick heritage building in Ladysmith.
Jan Frederik Ludvik said he has a lot of money invested in the apartment building at 110 Esplanade Ave, but he is now uncertain about the future of his investment after the bylaw was recently adopted by Ladysmith council.
“We are very much turned off by the overall sentiment of renovations and construction and I don’t know what is going to happen,” he said. “Right now I am not doing anything with that project.”
Previously, Ludvik hoped to vacate the building and had plans to use it for long-term rentals again after completing renovations.
Town council introduced the renoviction bylaw in November after learning Ladysmith was facing a zero per cent rental vacancy rate. It was adopted at its last meeting of 2021, after a public hearing where nobody spoke.
The bylaw is designed to protect renters from being evicted while balancing the need to keep the rental stock from deteriorating due to a lack of renovations.
Landlords who now wish to renovict tenants will be required to pay a minimum of 12 months’ rent, plus an additional month for each full year the tenant has rented the unit. This could see landlords paying upwards of $10,000 buyouts for each tenant in a building.
Council can grant an exemption when a renovation is needed to bring a building into compliance with health and safety codes if the work cannot be completed with tenants in the building.
“It was nice what the Town of Ladysmith did,” said Dale Yeryk, a tenant at 110 Esplanade. “From what I watched, that was government in actual action coming to a solution and coming up with a plan. I was so impressed with that.”
Yeryk is still facing eviction, for reasons unrelated to renovations, according to Ludvik. He will have a hearing with the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) this month to fight the eviction.
“It’s a difficult building with some difficult tenants that are there and right now it’s not first, second or third on my list so I am going to circle back to this building with ideas in months to come,” Ludvik said.
Sue Burron, another tenant, said she is still not comfortable in the apartment building because of communication issues with management. She is concerned about a large sign in the hallway that reads “No Drugs!”
Ludvik said he removed multiple marijuana plants that were being grown on the property. Burron said she has not seen drug problems in her six years living in the building.
“He wants the impression by the classist society to be that we are a bunch of low-lifes that have drug problems and he is going to come in and clean up the building, which is exactly the opposite of what he has done,” Burron said. She added there is little cleaning in public areas and inadequate snow removal on the property.
Ludvik said if he wants to move forward with renovation, he will have to apply for building permits, give notice to tenants and adhere to the new bylaw.
“You got a lot of things going on over there and not all of it is kosher and I am just trying to do is go about things the right way and deal with the city and do things properly,” he said.