Embattled tenants rally against profiteering, “abusive landlord,” Lorenzo Aquilini

On Tuesday morning, the tenants of the 1850 Adanac held a press conference with the Vancouver Renters’ Union to draw attention to their landlord’s flagrant disregard for tenants’ health, safety and residential tenure.

Ashurwin Holdings (Lorenzo Aquilini, CEO) purchased the three story, 78-unit building last year, at which point renovictions began taking place one unit at a time. Amazingly, all renovations in the building have been conducted without permits, rendering all recent evictions illegal. Worse, the landlord did not hire a qualified expert to safely remove pre-existing asbestos from the drywall, thereby releasing asbestos throughout the building via these unpermitted renovations. As a result, last week Worksafe BC ordered all renovations be stopped.

Maureen Bourke, a tenant at 1850 Adanac, stated, “I’m very concerned about the manner in which tenants have been treated in this building. The landlords have no regard for our health and safety, both physically and emotionally. We could be facing health issues down the road having been exposed to asbestos. People in the building have been receiving illegal rent increases and a number of tenants have already been renovicted.”

On April 13 2012, NDP MLA Shane Simpson contacted Lorenzo Aquilini and Ashurwin Holdings concerning the illegal renovictions and the careless exposure of asbestos in renovated suites. After weeks of silence, WorkSafe BC was contacted and the site was shut down. Amidst the controversy, Lorenzo Aquilini and Royal Providence Management have decided to defer responding to media requests.

When asked by the media about the hazardous removal of asbestos and the illegal rent increases, Maureen Bourke stated further: “People are feeling very vulnerable here.  The fear of losing our homes, is very real.  There are few if any affordable options for renters in this city, and many people are choosing to leave the Province altogether. We need affordable housing now, and greater protection from the RTA.”

One of the major grievances of the tenants is the intimidation, harassment and bullying that they have received from Ashurwin Holding’s parent-company, Royal Providence Management. A recently renovicted tenant, Jeff Mohoric, stated, “As a tenant of 15 years, I’ve been disrespected. When they bought the building I was bullied by the new management and was served a 10 day eviction notice. I was a good tenant for 15 years and now the new management, Ashurwin Holdings, wants to gentrify the building.”