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Tenants Displaced from Apartment Building Face Tight Rental Market

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The Executive Director of the Cowichan Housing Association says tenants forced to leave an apartment building in North Cowichan may have difficulty finding a new place to live.

Shelly Cook of the CHA says there are no easy options for them in the Cowichan Valley’s tight rental market.

West Urban Developments has confirmed that it’s in the process of removing all residents of the Magdalena Apartments and has applied to the Residential Tenancy Branch to end all tenancies in the building.

In an emailed response to our request for information, West Urban says there are structural deficiencies that need to be repaired and at least six months is required to complete the work.

West Urban says it has explored all options to do the work while tenants remain in their homes, but a third-party contractor experienced in structural remediation work has warned that “due to the invasive nature of the work to be done, it is not possible to do this work while the building is occupied.”

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Once approval is granted by the Residential Tenancy Branch, the company says tenants will be receiving four months’ advance notice to help give them time to find new homes, as well as one month’s free rent and a full refund of damage deposits.

In addition, those who want to terminate their leases can do so and will receive their deposits.

Cook says the loss of these rental units will have a significant impact, which could extend to businesses that face the loss of employees if some tenants are forced to relocate to other communities.

She has reached out to West Urban Developments to ask for more details, such as whether tenants will be given the opportunity to be the first in line to rent in the building when the remediation work is completed.

Cook is also contacting the Municipality of North Cowichan and the Residential Tenancy Branch.

The 5-story, 64-unit Magdalena Apartment building at 4114 Crosland Place near Cowichan Commons began accepting tenants in 2019.

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