Marpole house fire leaves tenants homeless

A recent house fire that broke out in Marpole, destroying everything inside and leaving 11 people homeless, has left one of the residents questioning the process of getting tenants’ insurance.

An online crowd-funding campaign has been set up to help the victims get back on their feet.

VANCOUVER, BC -- March 3, 2015, this house in the Marpole neighbourhood on Osler street caught fire by a tealight on the evening of Feb. 24, 2015.

Photo: Jocelyn Aspa – VANCOUVER, BC — March 3, 2015, this house in the Marpole neighbourhood on Osler street caught fire by a tealight on the evening of Feb. 24, 2015.

The housemates did not have tenants’ insurance. Sean Harten, one of the tenants since Sept. 2014, said that since none of them are related they would have had to pay a premium for insurance.

“When you’re in a situation like this [with roommates], tenants’ insurance isn’t easy to get,” he said.

 

Tenants’ insurance not as expensive as some may think

Leonard Sharman, senior advisor in media relations at The Co-operators Group Limited, acknowledged that one reason young renters typically don’t buy insurance is because they think it’s too expensive.

“I find [their decision is] often based on a false assumption about overall cost,” said Sharman. “If you ask them to add up what it would cost to replace everything they own, they’ll come to realize their stuff is valuable and worth protecting.”

Understanding the benefits of tenants’ insurance

Harten, who produces music, said he kept his equipment at home because renting a studio

J'nette Barnes (L) and Sean Harten (R), two of the 11 fire victims in the Marpole fire that happened on Feb 24., 2015, lost everything.

Photo: Jocelyn Aspa – J’nette Barnes (L) and Sean Harten (R), two of the 11 fire victims in the Marpole fire that happened on Feb 24., 2015, lost everything.

would be too costly. He said he lost about $14,000 in equipment.

Sharman said renters should be proactive and learn about getting insurance because it’s not as difficult as it seems.

“The more that can be done to get young people to understand the value of insurance, the better,” he said. “It can save you from financial devastation.”

Something to consider

Many Langara College students live at home, but not everyone who is renting has tenants’ insurance. Tenzin Yangchen, a first year nursing student, said she’d consider it.

“It’s probably a good idea to have [it] in case anything bad happens,” she said.

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