For Immediate Release
February 2 2021
MAPLE RIDGE (OCCUPIED KATZIE & KWANTLEN TERRITORY): Curtis Lachance, a low-income man living with disabilities, was evicted by a bailiff yesterday for failure to pay rent that he’s already paid. Curtis had tried to barricade himself in his unit to stop the bailiffs from coming in, but when they couldn’t get through the front door, they forced open the window of his ground-floor suite.
At a press conference organized by residents of Cityviews, the building Curtis lives in, Curtis’s mom Joyce explained that he is being targeted for eviction because he is poor and disabled. Curtis lives in a one bedroom apartment for just over $600 dollars, and cosmetically-renovated one bedroom suites in Cityviews are being rented out for $1200. “They just want him out, so they can fix up the suite and rent it out for higher rent,” said Joyce.
Curtis’s landlords, Bill Mitsui and Tyler Zhang of Columbia Wealth Investments, began harassing Curtis when they purchased the building in September, sending him illegal but nonetheless intimidating eviction notices. Then, they took advantage of an administrative mix-up by the Welfare Office in order to obtain an Order of Possession for Curtis’s unit.
Although Curtis and his mom, Joyce, reached out to the Eviction Defense Network to help defend Curtis from eviction, the RTB adjudicator rejected Curtis’s application for review, even though there is reason to believe his landlords fraudulently obtained their Order of Possession by lying about having not received Curtis’s rent at all.
Curtis’s story is not over yet. His family believes that both Columbia Wealth Investments and the RTB violated human rights law in their treatment of Curtis and is looking into filing a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal. And Curtis’s neighbors have formed a tenant committee to help tenants in their building fight back against Mitsui and Zhang’s bullying and intimi-victions.
Eviction Defense Network organizer Listen Chen said, “Responsibility for Curtis’s eviction also lies with the Province. The only way to disincentivize evictions is to institute rent control, so that no landlord stands to double their profits by pushing people out of their homes and into the streets. The housing crisis is an evictions crisis.”