Squatters take over one of Vancouver’s priciest properties

Squatters take over one of Vancouver’s priciest properties

For nearly a year, squatters have been using a vacant lot located at the end of Belmont Avenue in Vancouver as a makeshift shelter. The lot is one of the city’s most expensive pieces of real estate, with a price tag of $80.7 million and currently assessed at nearly $60 million. B.C. numbered companies own it, with a sole director, Edison Washington, who lists a West Vancouver residential address.


A temporary structure set up at 4883 Belmont Ave.

The campers have been constantly changing locks and confronting the owner. Property manager Hosein Akbari, who works for the owner, first encountered a camper when a real estate agent was trying to show the property. He stated that the camper was shouting, which was a bit frightening. Akbari called the police, but they told him that there was little they could do unless the camper was present at the time.

The campers have set up a small shelter made of wooden planks and blue tarp, along with gardening tools, a rake, shovels, plastic pails, and a watering can. There is also a toilet nearby. Akbari noted that he does not want to disturb or get rid of the campers’ belongings.

Initially, real estate agent Danny Deng held the properties, putting them on the market in 2021. Deng’s ad stated that a potential buyer could “apply for redevelopment” and included a photo illustration that showed 27 residences on the combined parcel. Later, it was removed, and the city stated that the lots are zoned RS-1, which permits one- and two-family dwellings through a development permit process.


A temporary structure at 4883 Belmont Ave.

In January 2023, the owner turned to a new listing agent, Malcolm Hasman, who repriced two of the larger lots and put them back on the market at $24.8 million and $17.8 million. The third lot is not on the market but still belongs to the same owner. Hasman does not think the situation with the campers is affecting the marketing of the property.

Open Investigation

The VPD has opened an investigation after receiving reports of conflicts between residents and people camping in the area, though no enforcement action has been taken. Recently, police received reports of one camper being shot at with a BB gun and running out of the property looking for help. On Sunday evening, VPD officers were called to the entrance of the property, where they found a man in the middle of the road waving a pruning saw. They released him after it was revealed that no crime had been committed.

The situation has unsettled the neighbors and the police. Hasman commented that it is a sad situation but he understands why people would seek shelter in a vacant lot, as it is private and safe. He also noted that it is not just happening on Belmont Avenue but all over the city.

Source: Vancouver Sun

No Comments

Post a Comment