Change of ownership causing problems for residents of Kiwanis Towers in Kelowna - InfoNews

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Change of ownership causing problems for residents of Kiwanis Towers in Kelowna

Image Credit: Global Okanagan (with permission)
March 10, 2017 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA - Provincial government officials met with tenants of a Kelowna senior housing building this week as the residents face higher rent with the loss of rental subsidies.

Kiwanis Towers, the 12-storey, 142-unit building on Lawrence Avenue near Gordon Road in Kelowna was sold in December 2016. The change in ownership means rent subsidies authorized by the province will no longer be in play, therefore increasing rents for the tenants of the building.

The non-profit Central Okanagan Kiwanis Community Service Society sold the building to the private company Kelowna Foundation for Hope and Social Innovation. As a result of the sale the Kiwanis Community Service Society invoked a one-year termination clause in the operating agreement with BC Housing, which had been in existence since the building was built in 1976.

Thirty-five residents attended the meeting on Wednesday, March 8 with BC Housing officials and additional meetings are currently being scheduled with those who were unable to attend, according to an email response from BC Housing communications.

“When a non-profit society sells a property covered by a BC Housing contract, the agreement does not automatically transfer to the new owner,” according to an e-mail from BC Housing communications.

A 2016 study done by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows the vacancy rate for senior housing in B.C. is 4.2 per cent, compared to the national average of 7.4 per cent. The vacancy rate in Kelowna, as of last year is 0.6 per cent, compared to the Canadian average of 3.5 per cent in 2015.

The Kelowna Foundation for Hope and Social Innovation refused comment.

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