Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A newer building, left, with businesses on the street level and condos above stands next to an older building in Chinatown in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday January 15, 2015.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

A company that manages single-room occupancy buildings in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has suffered a defeat in B.C. Supreme Court, but it says it will not change the policy that sparked the case.

Jamie Richardson, who was a resident of the London Hotel, an SRO run by Atira Property Management, challenged a policy that requires guests of tenants to show government-issued identification. He said the policy prevented many of his guests from visiting because they did not have and could not afford such ID.

Atira argued the neighbourhood is known for high levels of crime and violence and the policy was needed to ensure the safety of residents – though an arbitrator with the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch ruled against it last May, and a second arbitrator upheld that decision in August.

Story continues below advertisement

Atira then petitioned B.C. Supreme Court, with a judge late last week also reaffirming the arbitrator's decision.

"… The petitioner is only arguing that the arbitrator was wrong because she did not agree with the petitioner's position," Justice Mark McEwan wrote.

Janice Abbott, Atira's chief executive officer, in an interview Sunday said the ruling only applied to one case and the policy itself will not be scrapped.

"It's not a ruling against the policy, it's a ruling with respect to that tenant. And so, nothing will change for us," she said.

When asked if the ruling could be seen as a precedent, allowing other tenants to seek the same recourse, she said, "We're not at this point concerned about the ruling."

Ms. Abbott said Mr. Richardson is also no longer residing at the building.

The policy requiring guests to produce government-issued ID was introduced on March 31, 2014. Atira had previously required guests to show some sort of ID but it did not have to be government issued, and photocopied ID was acceptable. Guests were also allowed to show a card known as a Life Skills ID, which could be obtained through a community resource centre.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Richardson applied for an exemption to the new guest-identification policy shortly after it was introduced.

At the arbitrator's hearing last May, Atira argued its policy was supported by a City of Vancouver bylaw that says an SRO owner must maintain guest ledgers.

However, the arbitrator said the civic bylaw does not require guests to produce photo ID and the province's Residential Tenancy Act says a landlord must not unreasonably restrict access to a property. The arbitrator ordered Atira to let Mr. Richardson have guests without requiring them to produce ID.

Atira then sought a review hearing, which was held in August. The company, at the review hearing, cited the high levels of crime and violence in the neighbourhood. It said the policy was put in place, in part, because of a double shooting at another Atira building. It said the policy had led to a decrease in violence and was enacted in conjunction with the Vancouver Police Department and provincial agency BC Housing.

The second arbitrator, in upholding the first arbitrator's decision, said the landlord submitted no evidence that restricting Mr. Richardson's guests was reasonable.

Atira, in its B.C. Supreme Court petition, said the first arbitrator was patently unreasonable. It also said a visitor had accessed its buildings using a fake Life Skills ID, and many residents were relieved the new policy would better protect them.

Story continues below advertisement

Justice McEwan, in his ruling, said the arbitrator's decision focused on Mr. Richardson's circumstances and was not unreasonable or incorrect.

Atira manages 20 buildings in all.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies