Some tenants stay on in Victoria-area highrise deemed unsafe

Tenants defy order to leave

A handful of residents continue to live in a Victoria-area highrise deemed unsafe for occupation more than a month after the building owner asked all tenants to leave.

Most units in Danbrook One in Langford appear to be empty, but a bike on an upper-floor balcony, patio furniture and curtains indicate several remain occupied.

Toronto-based Centurion Property Associates issued a “notice to vacate” on Jan. 16 to the roughly 35 units still occupied in the 90-unit Danbrook One building. That notice came almost a month after the City of Langford revoked the building’s occupancy permit due to problems with the building’s gravity system and lateral system, which affects how the structure responds to an earthquake.

Residents have not paid rent since Langford revoked the building’s occupancy permit on Dec. 20, because Centurion cannot legally charge rent without the permit, said president Greg Romundt. The company cancelled all pre-authorized payments for January onward and reimbursed residents for rent already paid for the period from Dec. 21 to 31.

“We do believe that some residents, although not many, are taking advantage of the situation because we aren’t charging rent. That is both frustrating and unfortunate,” Romundt said in an email.

He said the company does not have an exact count of how many remain in the building, because not all residents have been in touch, but most have indicated they will move out by the end of February.

Romundt said Centurion will have no choice but to evict those who remain.

While Centurion does not yet have a remediation plan, Romundt said that anyone occupying apartments could delay necessary repair work.

On Dec. 18, Langford questioned the structural integrity of the 11-storey highrise after being tipped off by the Engineers and Geoscientists B.C. association, which had been investigating a complaint since April.

Two days later, an independent engineering report for the municipality confirmed serious safety concerns, and the municipality revoked the building’s occupancy permit.

About 400 temporary shores were installed in the building on Dec. 23 and 24. However, that work was a “temporary backup measure,” said Romundt.

Romundt estimated the building will not be ready for occupation until late summer or early fall.

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