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Update: Richmond animal charity agrees deal with co-tenant over alleged unpaid utility bills

Phoenix Perennials said negotiations were going well and it was disappointed that RAPS decided to go down the law suit route
RAPS had filed a lawsuit against its neighbour, claiming an agreement over shared utility costs had been broken.

A Richmond-based animal charity has come to an agreement with its co-tenant over and alleged unpaid utility bill of more than $66,000.

The Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS) had filed a lawsuit against its No. 6 Road neighbour Phoenix Perennials, claiming it had failed to live up to an agreement to pay half of the pair’s shared water and electricity bills since 2015.

Both parties in the law suit are long-term tenants of a rural property on No. 6 Road, just north of Cambie Road, where RAPS has been running its cat sanctuary since around 1995.

However, in a joint statement issued to the Richmond News on Friday, both parties claimed that, after a “difference of opinion” over how to “calculate a fair division of utility fees between two very different facilities,” a resolution has been found.

The statement added that the two parties have “previously had a constructive, neighbourly relationship and we look forward to many more years of mutual support and good relations.”

Reached for comment on Saturday, Phoenix Perennials agreed that, from 2004 to 2015, the two parties had “an excellent, cooperative relationship with an oral agreement to share costs based on actual usage since the two facilities have very different utility needs.”

A spokesperson for Phoenix added that, from 2015 onwards, “a disagreement arose in how to calculate that usage and share costs.

“Phoenix Perennials has always negotiated in good faith and in a timely manner towards a fair resolution for both parties.

“We regret and are disappointed that RAPS felt the need to file a lawsuit against us even as we had nearly reached a resolution in this long disagreement.

“Of course, we disagree with many aspects of their claim. However, a negotiated resolution was reached some days ago. We look forward to returning to a more cooperative relationship going forward.”

The suit claimed that on or about Nov. 2, 2015, RAPS entered into a commercial lease agreement with ADX International Investments Ltd. to continue to lease the property with the condition it pays 50 per cent of the water and electricity costs and Phoenix pays the other half.

It also claims that the two tenants had an “oral agreement” to share the utility costs equally.

However, RAPS claims that Phoenix has failed, since 2015, to pay its share, totalling a $27,083.16 bill with the City of Richmond for water and $38,109.00 to BC Hydro, both of which RAPS claims to have paid.

According to the law suit, RAPS has made multiple demands for payment, all of which have been “refused or ignored.”

None of the allegations made in the suit have been proven and Phoenix had yet to file a response in court.