Brent Summerfield is allowed to continue to reside in his unit at 1028 Inverness Rd. following a ruling by the Residential Tenancy Branch. Summerfield is the only tenant remaining after eviction notices were sent out to all residents in the 13-unit Thornwood Manor. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Renoviction shot down: Tenant wins right to stay in otherwise empty building

Residential Tenancy Branch rules in favour of Saanich tenant, who fought eviction

The last remaining tenant of a Saanich apartment building has extended his stay despite an eviction notice from the landlord.

The Residential Tenancy Branch awarded Brent Summerfield the right to continue living at 1028 Inverness Rd. in a dispute hearing Wednesday with a representative of the company that owns the building, VPEA, and their property manager.

RELATED: Tenant facing renoviction cries foul

The dispute was initially filed in July after Summerfield received his eviction notice from the property manager. That notice was sent out on June 21 to all tenants of the 13-unit, three-storey building known as Thornwood Manor. The notice gave tenants until Aug. 31 to leave, citing that the owner had “all necessary permits and approvals required by law to demolish the rental unit, or renovate or repair the rental unit, in a manner that requires the rental unit to be vacant.”

However, VPEA did not have a building permit from Saanich for the type of planned renovations they detailed in the letter.

Furthermore, a Saanich spokesperson confirmed that as of Sept. 20, they have still not received an application for any permit for 1028 Inverness Rd.

“The RTB really [slammed the owner] on the phone,” Summerfield said. “I was trying to contain myself from laughing [over the] speaker phone.”

In addition to an indefinite extension to his stay (VPEA can’t give Summerfield the mininum two-month eviction until they get a permit), Summerfield was awarded $100 off his October rent as a reimbursement for filing the dispute with RTB, and won’t have to pay for his last month’s rent.

“Another interesting part of the call was that no renovations whatsoever can take place while I still reside in the building,” Summerfield said.

Knowing the length of time it takes to get a building permit in Saanich, Summerfield expects a bare minimum of six months before he’ll have to leave the apartment he’s been in for 12 years.

“It gives me breathing room to calm down and look around for a better place, I don’t need to rush into a basement suite like some of the other tenants did,” Summerfield said.

Summerfield is the only remaining tenant as the others moved out following the June 21 eviction notice. One other tenant had a dispute hearing earlier this month and likely would have won the right to stay but left anyways after they found a new place to live, Summerfield said.

“It is kind of weird being the only car in the parking lot, it’s a ghost town,” Summerfield said. “But on the plus side, there’s no waiting for the laundry and for the first time in 12 years I can blast music if I want It’s eerie and peaceful at the same time.”

reporter@saanichnews.com

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A copy of the eviction notice filed to Brent Summerfield on June 21 declares it has “all necessary permits and approvals required by law to demolish the rental unit, or renovate or repair the rental unit, in a manner that requires the rental unit to be vacant.” Courtesy of Brent Summerfield

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