Thursday, November 22, 2007

Housing Crisis In Surrey

Betcha I can tell where this is going.

"The managers take any low-income tenant without screening them. Alarms go off regularly. Fire extinguishers are missing. There are holes in the roof. My refrigerator has been replaced three times.
"People shot off Roman candles in the hallways on Halloween. The lock on the main entry door is
frequently broken. Anybody could walk in," he said.
"It is infested with bugs. I spray the apartment every two weeks. Otherwise I'd get overrun.
"Nobody seems to be able to get hold of the property management company," he added.

No shit.

I live just down the street from this apartment complex. I can see its several buildings from my window. I can hear the numberous fire alarms, and I can testify that it has become a destination point for local emergency vehicles. At times, I'm pretty sure I hear gunshots. Once, someone set fire to a stolen truck in the parking lot and gutted the thing with the explosion.

And who owns the complex? These guys, that's who.

They also own a not-yet-in-existence high-rise condo complex at 15380 102A Avenue, Surrey. It has almost sold out, and it hasn't even been completed yet!

And yet another one at 10180 153rd Street. Again, almost sold out to new buyers and not even completely built.

Both those locations are literally withing spitting distance of the rental property known as Imperial Pines Estates at 10567 150 Street. There are a couple of other Onni-owned rental properties in Surrey, but they're a little further away.

Here's the thing: Onni rents mainly to those members of society that most rental property owners deem undesireable -- the single moms with low-paying jobs or maybe on welfare, the pensioners who could never afford their own homes and never knew they were expected to do so, the mentally handicapped who can function highly enough to live on their own and be responsible for themselves, and the physically handicapped who can also look after themselves and just need somewhere to live that's close to most of the amenities.

All these people have one thing in common: they don't have the resources to take Onni to court and force them to clean up their property.

So...where's this going? I knew you'd ask.

Condemned property status, that's where.

Onni is refusing to do more than absolutely legally necessary because they want the tenants to get fed up and move out. When most of them have gone, Onni will simply stop doing anything towards upkeep, and someone will step in and have the buildings condemned. The remaining tenants will all be evicted, the buildings will be torn down, and voila! yet another blank piece of real estate upon which to build yet another ticky-tacky fucking condo complex that only multi-millionaires can afford.

Oh, yeah...wanna know who owns Onni? I knew ya did! Don't they seem like a fun bunch? They also own Amacon and Pinnacle International.

UPDATE as of Thursday, 29 November:

Onni spokescritters are saying that the repairs have now been completed and everything is tickety-boo.

Time will tell if the residents agree. It would help a lot if the residents got a price break on their rent for the time when they didn't have any heat and hot water, as well as compensation for trying to do their own vermin control.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a really interesting and well researched post.

I lived in Vancouver until fairly recently and I understand exactly where you are coming from.


Friday, November 23, 2007 5:30:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

This is my neighborhood, TH, so the original article definitely caught my eye. I "know" a few of the tenants to speak to, and they are being horribly taken advantage of. If they complain too much, they get threatened with eviction for being undesireable or disruptive. And if Onni says they're undesireable, nobody else is gonna let them in the door!

Rental property in this country is at a premium right now. And it's high-maintenance, compared to the quick sale. And with the Olympics coming up, there's a push on to develop even more condos, with the thought that a lot of people will want the cachet of living in a city that hosted the event.


Saturday, November 24, 2007 7:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post. I lived in an Onni building in Burnaby and it was a nightmare. Duct-tape fixes, half-assed "repairs", non existent pest control. Nightmare.

They flooded half the suites on the lower level by hiring shoddy construction crews, and then refused to offer anyone a break on the rent.


Thursday, November 29, 2007 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Recent follow-up news items are indicating that the original article acted like spurs to a recalcitrant horse.

Onni is saying that they've already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on repairs and upkeep.

Residents are calling bullshit.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 4:18:00 PM  

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