Victory at Chau Leun Tower!: By King-Mong Chan

Victory! With the support and work of DJ Larkin from Pivot Legal Society and MPA advocate Stephanie Smith, the

Chau Luen tower residents were facing a mass rent increase
Chau Luen tower residents were facing a mass rent increase

Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) dismissed the Chau Luen Society’s application for rent increases – above 40% – at Chau Luen Tower (at Keefer and Gore)!

It was an evening in late February when I translated the RTB’s document for one of the tenants living at Chau Luen Tower. Over the past five months, this tenant organized other tenants in the building to oppose the rent increases. When we reached the end of the document and realized that we had won, the tenant breathed out a big sigh of relief and joy. He then began to exclaim to the others tenants in the room, “The rents aren’t going up!”

We are obviously overjoyed at this result but we know we cannot afford to be careless. The threat of rent increases still exist as the landlord can continue to apply for rent increases for other reasons. But at least for the time being, the seniors don’t have to worry about how they are going to survive on their meager incomes.

Furthermore, the loophole in the Residential Tenancy Act that allows for rent increases based on rising land values in the neighbourhood continues to be a threat for low-income tenants. So we need to continue the fight to eliminate all threats to the low-income community, including gentrification.

Often as activists, we feel or fear that our work is futile. But we are reminded by Thomas Merton (as quoted in the late Sandy Cameron’s article, “Longing for Light”) to “not depend on the hope of results…but [concentrate]…on…the rightness, the truth of the work itself.” We must continue the fight for what’s right – for truth, love, and justice. We will have more victories like at the Chau Luen Tower, for justice will prevail. We will win. We have already won.

 

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