For Immediate Release
February 3rd 2021
Township of Langley evicting tenants to pave affordable housing to put up a parking lot
UNCEDED KATZIE, KWANTLEN, MATSQUI, AND SEMIAHMOO TERRITORIES (Township of Langley): On February 2nd, Maureen and Gary found bylaw, police officers and city officials in front of their door. “They cut off the lock and told us we had to get out by January 31st. But they didn’t have an order of possession or a bailiff. They were very rude and violent. We stood our ground against the police, the bylaw and officials from the Township of Langley and they left.”
The threat of eviction is still present. It could be only a matter of days for the city to get the legal documents to evict Maureen, Gary, Jen and their two neighbors. Maureen had been talking to the Township since they received their eviction notice in October, but nothing came out of it. “They said they’d look into extending the tenancy or find us a place to move into, then said they didn’t find anything,” Maureen explained.
On Thursday February 4th, Maureen’s household is working with the Eviction Defence Network to hold a news conference and demand that the Township of Langley stop the bulldozers that will push them into homelessness.
What: News conference
When: Thursday February 4th, 1:00pm
Where: 20154 80th avenue, Langley
At the news conference, the Eviction Defence Network will support the tenants’ three demands on Langley Township:
- Immediately cancel the eviction
- Replace the 5 affordable rental units in the house with low-income affordable non-market housing
- Follow provincial housing policies and provide the tenants with a long term replacement unit at the same price for all tenants threatened of eviction
In the fall, the Township of Langley bought the house and started the eviction of the tenants in order to bulldoze it. While Metro Vancouver, of which Langley is a part, recommends a “one-for-one” replacement policy, where any demolished rental housing should be replaced with new rental units, neither the City nor Township of Langley require that developers replace rentals lost to redevelopment.
The problem of Langley’s refusal to protect scarce rental units is even more stark in the case of the home of Maureen and her household. The property was bought by the city for over $10 million and is being demolished by the government itself, for a non-residential development.
“They don’t need to build a parking lot at this moment, it’s like an insult,” Maureen said. She does not understand the Township’s hurry to demolish her home for the parking lot for a convention centre that doesn’t host any events. “The center is closed because of covid,” Maureen said.
As tenants on the property for over 3 years, their home has been open to the broader community. “We are in touch with many people from the homeless community and let them stay here sometimes, when they have nowhere to go. They’re our friends.” Gary said that he knows over twenty people homeless in the community. Maureen agrees. “There’s lots. My friends don’t call me asking to find them a house, but where to pitch a tent”.
If they were to be evicted tomorrow, Maureen said, “I don’t know where we would go. I hired moving trucks but have nowhere to go. It’s a catch 22. The Township needs to go back and find me something that works.”
When asked by members of the Eviction Defense Network if they could provide affordable housing to the tenants they are evicting, the Township’s response was “no.”
“The RCMP proposed that I stay in a motel,” Maureen said. “The city and bailiff need to get their shit together. People on low income or disability don’t know how to fight evictions like this, that’s not fair”.
For information contact: Eviction Defence Network, 236-777-1612