Surrey tenants march to halt demovictions

The eviction notices have been rescinded, but may return following city approval

Photo of high-rise apartments in Surrey.
PHOTO: Elyana Moradi / The Peak

By: Hannah Fraser, News Writer

On May 27, a rally was held outside Elizabeth Manor, Surrey, demanding the city stop the property’s planned demoviction, in which over 50 families would be evicted. Demoviction, as in demolition-eviction, is “when a landlord evicts tenants from a building so that it can be demolished and redeveloped into new apartments or condos.” Tenants of Elizabeth Manor who were part of the rally also marched to Surrey City Hall in protest of the loss of affordable housing in the Lower Mainland.

The rally was led by ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), a “community union of low and moderate-income people” fighting for “social and economic justice.” In a press release, ACORN Tenant Leader Arun Mulalka said, “If I got evicted my rent would almost triple, who can afford that with expenses skyrocketing right now? I have a five-year-old daughter who is starting school in September, my whole life is here in this neighbourhood.” For the past five years, Mulalka has lived with his family at Elizabeth Manor, paying $935 for a two-bedroom apartment.

In 2024, Surrey has an average of $2,422 rent for a two-bedroom apartment. Low rental vacancy causes “thousands of tenants” to be “displaced by demovictions” and compete for housing — driving the prices up, according to CBC. Demovictions of affordable housing are happening across BC, without a promise of affordable rentals elsewhere for tenants.

“If my family loses our home, where are we supposed to go?” — Arun Mulaka, ACORN Tenant Leader

In light of the protests, the landlord of Elizabeth Manor has taken back eviction notices given to residents. 

According to Surrey Now-Leader, the city claimed it was “premature to have issued eviction notices to remaining tenants” considering the project hasn’t been “presented to Council and the applicant is still going through the permitting process.” ACORN reported that as “the developer is still planning on going to City Hall to get approval to redevelop Elizabeth Manor,” they are “calling on the the City of Surrey and Mayor Brenda Locke to urgently meet with tenants to discuss [their] concerns and ACORN’s proposed solutions to the demoviction crisis.”

ACORN leaders met again on June 10 at Surrey City Hall to request a meeting with Mayor Brenda Locke and the city councillors. They expect their perspective to be considered before Locke and the councillors consider the demoviction application. 

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