Supreme court rules social housing residents at Victoria facility should be allowed to have guests

Supreme court rules social housing residents at Victoria facility should be allowed to have guests
Chek
In June 2016, the province said it had purchased a building at 844 Johnson St. to provide 140 units of supportive housing. File photo.

In June 2016, the province said it had purchased a building at 844 Johnson St. to provide 140 units of supportive housing. File photo.

It’s a major victory for residents of a supportive housing facility in Victoria.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled the Portland Hotel Society, the housing provider of a supportive housing complex at 844 Johnson St., can’t prevent residents from having guests over at the building.

The legal battle was launched by a group of former residents of Victoria’s tent city. The residents moved into the 140-unit housing complex, which had been purchased by the province, nearly two years ago. They claimed the society has been restricting their ability to have friends and family over. They argued in court they should have the same rights as any tenant under the Residential Tenancy Act.

This week, the B.C. Supreme Court agreed with the residents’ position.

“In this case, the court was clear you cannot restrict guest privileges in social housing as a blanket policy. It’s not saying you can’t restrict guest privileges at all, but it has to be done on a case-by-case basis. There has to be evidence,” Douglas King, executive director of Together Against Poverty Society.

The group of tenants said the next step is to meet with the Portland Hotel Society to come up with an appropriate guest policy together.

“Hopefully, they can start having their Christmas and their relatives and friends come by and bring their gifts to them unlike that has been in the past,” Doug Swait, a tenant at the Johnson Street building, said.

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