VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In a challenging time for renters, Reliance Properties is looking to set a new standard for the industry as it embarks on major reconstruction and structural work of a well-known Vancouver rental building the company bought two years ago.

“We are undertaking a major overhaul,” said Jon Stovell, President and CEO of Reliance Properties, a local company that owns and manages more than 500 rental units in Vancouver with another 1,000 rental units under development. “Having never had significant upgrades in its 60-year history, The Berkeley needs critical work to improve environmental performance, provide life-safety and building code upgrades, and replace the plumbing, electrical and ventilation systems. The work will ensure the livability, environmental performance, and longevity of The Berkeley as a dedicated rental building well into the future.”

Known for its yellow and green colour, The Berkeley at English Bay is a 16-storey rental apartment building with ground-floor retail and restaurant. Extensive structural work of the building and its 58 apartments starts next year, and the project is expected to take 2.5 years (30 months). The work will result in all apartments being open to the elements and be without heat, water and fire safety systems for a significant period.

Reliance mailed and hand-delivered notices to tenants on Tuesday informing them their tenancy agreements will come to an end. The company has worked with engineers and contractors to develop a schedule that will allow tenants to remain in their units as long as possible. Some tenancies will end next year, while others will end in 2020.

“Reliance knows this is difficult news for tenants, and to reduce impacts – and set the highest industry standards – we are significantly exceeding our regulatory obligations under BC’s Residential Tenancy Act and City of Vancouver’s tenant relocation policies,” said Stovell, who also recently advised BC’s new Rental Housing Task Force. “Reliance is providing more than double the financial compensation under a tenant’s regulatory entitlement, far exceeding the timeline for providing notice to end tenancy, providing compensation for moving costs, and additional relocation assistance for those who need it.”

On average, Reliance’s compensation package is $10,000 per unit. Reliance’s total compensation package is close to $500,000. If Reliance subscribed to government regulations, the average per unit would be $5,000 and total compensation would be roughly $200,000. (Compensation is based on length of tenancy and unit size).

“So much of our existing rental stock is reaching the end of its useful life and must be repurposed,” said David Hutniak, CEO of LandlordBC, the province’s main advocacy group for rental housing providers. “When this happens, a positive tenant compensation package is critical. Reliance Properties is demonstrating leadership by setting a high standard for what is fair and respectful treatment of tenants faced with relocating.”

Once The Berkeley project completes, tenants will have the first right of refusal at market rates, as per the provincial government’s recent changes to the Residential Tenancy Act.

Reliance has approached Habitat for Humanity to assess items the organization may find useful for families in need. Among other items, the non-profit organization accepts appliances, kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities and hardware, plus any surplus supplies following construction.

Reliance Properties has distinguished itself as a leader in providing innovative housing, including introducing micro-lofts to Vancouver and preserving heritage buildings.

About Reliance Properties

Reliance Properties is a Vancouver company with more than 50 years’ experience in real estate management, leasing and development. The company has won multiple awards, including several City of Vancouver Heritage Awards, Urban Development Institute awards, and the 2012 Heritage BC Award.

Media Inquiries: Renu Bakshi 604 787 1873 or renu@renubakshi.com