How to fight evictions
Everyone agrees there is a housing crisis in BC. But how we relate to it depends on how we relate to housing. For landlords, the housing crisis means profit. For the middle-class, it means struggling to afford the mortgage for a condo, not a house. And for the working class, it means the ever present danger of eviction, homelessness, and death.
The concept of rent gap points to the difference between the current rate that a unit is being rented at and what it could be rented for. Whenever there is a rent gap the landlord has an incentive to evict tenants and make more money. A big rent gap is great for landlords and terrible for tenants.
The housing crisis means more power to landlords and less for tenants as we fear we’ll be evicted with nowhere to go.
What can one tenant do on their own to stop an eviction?
File a dispute to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) and… ask nicely to not be evicted? That’s not much.
The RTB imagines that there is an equal playing field between landlord and tenant. In reality it’s heavily tilted in the favour of landlords. They are entitled to rent and profit but tenants aren’t entitled to housing. Tenants can win our individual cases at the RTB, but it is rare because the law is written for the landlords – and through legal fights we will never win what we really need: universal housing.
To win, we need to organize and go beyond the limits set by the law.
We need universal housing!
Housing is a commodity that landlords buy and sell for profit. But for us, as working class and Indigenous people, it’s our home.
If landlords can make more money by evicting people, they will. Under capitalism, profits always matter more than people. In Canada, we also live on unceded and stolen Indigenous lands. The settler state relies on stealing land from Indigenous nations, displacing them from their territories, in a continuation of the colonial attacks on Indigenous sovereignty.
We see this contradiction, between housing as a source of profit and as a home, as the source of the housing crisis. Housing and land shouldn’t be commodified because we need it to live, like water or health care.
Our goal is universal housing. That means housing for everyone, not for profit. It also means land back to Indigenous nations.
What can we do? Organize!
Reach out to your neighbors! To stay in our homes and defend ourselves against the power of landlords, bailiffs and city planners selling our homes to rich gentrifiers, it’s essential for us to get organized.
legal resources (BC)
The legal system exists to defend landlords but it is still worthwhile to contest an eviction notice through the Residential Tenancy Branch. In many cases you can stop an illegal eviction.
Materials to print
Resources to print to get in touch with your neighbours and flyer your neighbourhood about the Eviction Defence Network.
HOUSING struggles across north america
The eviction crisis isn’t hitting British Columbia alone. All across Canada and the United States, communities organize against the commodification of their housing and the displacement of families for the profit of a few. Find in this section links and articles about other inspiring struggles!