Lack of heat, water, broken elevators and rats.
Just some of the problems listed in a class action lawsuit against a trio of controversial landlords and the City of Vancouver.
Jerald Gates, a tenant of downtown eastside SRO the Regent Hotel, is seeking an immediate injunction for the city to step in and fix what he calls ‘deplorable’ conditions.
His Lawyer Jason Gratl says the city has the power to fix the problems and bill Parkash, Pal, and Gurdyal Sahota, all named in the lawsuit.
“They have the power under the Vancouver Standards of Maintenance bylaw to step in and conduct the repairs but instead of doing so they’ve delivered empty promises.”
The Sahotas are well known in the area, also as owners of the Balmoral and Cobalt hotels.
The Balmoral has been plagued with similar problems, including bedbugs, rodents, and a chronically broken elevator and was voted by DTES residents at the first ever SRO convention as having “the most terrible living conditions residents have ever encountered.”
“Band Aid solutions”
But Chief Licensing Inspector Andreea Toma says there’s only so much that can be done.
The city can issue 60 day notices for repairs, and can step in once that period expires.
But Toma says while the problems always get fixed within the time frame, the same issues do keep re-appearing.
“The fact that it gets fixed with simply a Band-Aid solution, rather than an overall strategy, you know looking at the guts of the building. None of those issues get addressed and we don’t have the teeth that will allow us to get involved.”
Gates is asking for $200 a month for every month he’s been without heat or hot water.
It will take 6 month to a year for a judge to certify the suit.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.