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Non-profit plans to sell deteriorating Langley apartments, rather than fix them up

Seniors and people on disability assistance may soon be forced to move
June Eliason said she wishes Langley Lions Senior Citizens Housing Society would repair and maintain her home of 21 years, rather than sell it.

A small apartment complex in Langley City is being put on the market, leaving some of its residents — seniors and people on disability assistance — anxious about their future.

Yale Manor — a one-storey, eight-unit complex on Brydon Crescent in Langley City — is owned by the non-profit Langley Lions Senior Citizens Housing Society (LLCHS). The eight residents were informed last week of the society's plan to sell the property.

While the society's executive director has vowed to rehouse the individuals in its other buildings some are not satisfied, saying they have serious concerns about the quality of those buildings and the possibility of being forced to give up pets. (LLCHS owns a handful of buildings, most of which are located behind Langley Mall.)

Too expensive to maintain

June Eliason has lived at Yale Manor for 21 years and said she was surprised when a notice was given on Wednesday, June 15 informing residents of a meeting at LLCHS's main office the next day. At the meeting they were informed of the society's intent to sell.

"The costs that are needed to maintain this building by far exceed the revenue that is generated from the eight units. The recent leaking of the roof area that was patched in the fall of 2015 made it clear that the time had come to proceed forward," reads a letter given to Yale tenants, from LLCHS executive director Jeanette Dagenais.

The low, unsubsidized rent ($355 per month) paid by tenants is not enough revenue to offset the cost of maintaining the facility, Dagenais told the Times in a phone interview. In addition to paying utilities, property taxes and staff to maintain the facility, it needs repairs to the roof (which currently has a temporary patch) and a boiler replaced, said Dagenais.

Places being held may not be wanted

Dagenais said there are four units in LLCHS's other buildings ready for Yale residents to move into and she is confident that by the time it sells, there will be space for all eight people. She has also vowed to help the residents financially when they make the move by either reimbursing them two months' rent or paying for their moving expenses.

"We've shut our doors to the outside until we successfully house everybody," she said.

Eliason said she won't be moving into those units due to generally poor upkeep. She was shown a unit with a sloping and buckling floor and she has spoken to residents who say there are bedbugs in the buildings.

Dagenais acknowledged both of these issues.

"We have bedbugs in our other buildings, yes... It kind of cycles up and down like a rollercoaster but we handle it very aggressively and take it very seriously," she said.

She said she saw the slanted floor for the first time when showing the ground floor unit to the Yale residents but said that it would be fixed before anyone moved in.

Charmeyn Sinclaire said she had hoped that when she moved into the Yale seven years ago it would be her last home. She echoed Eliason's concerns about the quality of the other units and was also concerned she would not be able to bring her cat with her.

"I'm not about to give up my cat because of this situation," she said.

Sinclaire said she was one of three cat owners at the Yale but Dagenais said only one Yale resident was approved to have one. She said she wasn't sure if they would be able to bring their pets into the other buildings.

Sinclaire said she does not blame LLCHS for deciding to sell the property. If disability assistance payments from the provincial government were higher ($375 per month is allocated for rent) the society could better maintain buildings like the Yale.

Developers will buy the property, tear down the structure and build more upscale units for either rent or sale, Sinclaire predicts.

At time of writing, the property did not appear on public real estate listings. The lot's total value was assessed at $939,400 last year, with the building itself only making up $10,000 of that. Under its current low-density multi-family zoning a two-storey building could be built on the property.