After evacuating and relocating the residents of the Balmoral Hotel in early June, the City of Vancouver has now filed a total of 60 charges against the building’s owners.
The notorious Downtown Eastside Single Room Occupancy (SRO) facility is controlled by members of the Sahota family, and the city alleges the family violated the City’s Standards of Maintenance By-law.
These infractions, the municipal government says, were identified during proactive inspections of the building.
A total of 18 infractions were found during an inspection of the building on January 31, and a further 42 infractions were identified on April 19. The breaches included failure to maintain walls, ceilings, and floors to an adequate standard, as well as lack of maintenance to plumbed facilities such as baths and toilets.
“The City of Vancouver is committed to holding landlords accountable for maintaining habitable standards,” said Kaye Krishna, General Manager of Development, Buildings & Licensing, for the City of Vancouver. “It’s critical that we protect this housing stock, which provides much needed affordable housing to some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.”
A summons will be issued to Balmoral Hotel Ltd. to appear in Court to answer to the charges.
If the owners are found guilty, each infraction carries a potential fine of $250 to $10,000.
Balmoral’s history of problems
The Balmoral Hotel is located at 159 Hastings Street. City officials claim that its owners – the Sahotas – have a poor track record with the Vancouver Police Department, the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, and staff from the City’s Buildings and Property Use team.
The family also owns several other low-income hotels located in the Downtown Eastside including the Astoria and the Cobalt.
The Balmoral has had a history of upkeep and structural problems. In fall 2016, the hotel topped the City’s list of the most at-risk buildings in Vancouver.
Currently, the building is undergoing a complete review by a contractor hired by the owners to assess the work that is needed to rehabilitate the property.
After an inspection to assess the shoring and stabilization of the Balmoral Hotel on July 14, it was announced that the City’s Chief Building Official deemed the building to be stabilized to the City’s satisfaction.
Still, the City anticipates that “a significant amount of work” will be necessary to return the building to SRA housing stock.