On Wednesday, residents were busy moving out of RidgeView Place, and were also hearing from insurance companies that their claims would not be covered.
When the notice to evacuate was issued, residents were encouraged to contact their insurance providers to help recoup costs associated with finding a temporary place to live.
However, one man, who did not want to be named, says his insurance agent told him the rental insurance is denied.
“I’m so stressed out. Where am I going to live? It took me a year, and a half to find this place. Imagine these people with children and all type of thing. It’s horrible,” he said to CHEK News.
The insurance agent says the claim is denied since there were pre-existing issues with the building.
In 2019, seismic, foundation and other concerns forced owner Centurion Apartment Properties to clear the building.
Just days ago, engineers determined the building still represents a safety risk, and for the second time, an emergency evacuation is recommended.
Now residents, like Erika Racette, are finding their rental insurance, a requirement to live here, is being denied because of a pre-existing condition at the building.
“I spoke with them over the phone, and explained the situation. And the person I was talking to on the phone told me this did not count as an emergency. So they would not cover us,” Racette said.
Nineteen-year old Jordan Samulak just moved in nine months ago, and she is worried about her renters’ insurance coverage.
“I haven’t heard of one person where their insurance has gone through. Every single one has been denied due to the building pre-existing having structural issues, so no insurance will cover it for anything. and help out. It’s all getting denied.”” Samulak said.
Ridgeview Place tenants are meeting to determine their next steps, including a possible class action lawsuit.
But the stress of no home, and no financial assistance, is growing for all of them.
“Oh, it’s terrible you know. You’re already stressed already. But when you are down in the lobby, I saw people crying, and I’ve seen people, their pets are getting loose. And it’s chaos around,” Racette said.
After the tenants move out, the remediation work will start, but there is no word on when, or if, these tenants will move back home.
Centurion offers additional funds for displaced residents
Initially when the notice to evacuate was issued, Centurion offered the residents $1,000. After hearing about issues with insurance, the company is now offering an additional $1,5oo, bringing the total of compassionate assistance to $2,500.
Residents who paid through pre-authorized payment will have the money deposited directly, anyone else can pick up the cheque from the Centurion Regional Office. The cheques will be available by the end of the week.
“There have been heated discussions on this issue, and there is ongoing litigation that we are confident will address many of the issues we inherited as a company. We were surprised to learn of structural issues after the remediation work that resulted in the reissuance of the Occupancy Permit but are steadfastly committed to addressing them,” the company said in an email statement.
“We also know that in frustrating situations like this, there is a natural desire to point fingers at those whose actions caused these issues. We believe that it will be important to ensure accountability for the failures in this process, but our most immediate and urgent focus is on supporting Residents.”
The company has also extended the hours the customer care centre is available and increased staff. This will be available:
- Weekdays: 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. PDT
- Weekends: 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PDT
Emergency staff will also be on hand at RidgeView at the following hours:
- Weekdays: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. PDT
- Weekends: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PDT
“Both Centurion and the City of Langford have a shared responsibility to support Residents who have been impacted by this unfortunate situation,” the company says.
“We are actively advocating for the City to take additional measures to better support Residents. We know that the City has also been disappointed by this situation, but hope that both parties can focus our immediate energy on the needs of RidgeView Place Residents.”