THE City of Vancouver announced on Tuesday that it is continuing efforts to step-up enforcement in Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels, with actions taken against the Regent and Balmoral due to significant safety risks and maintenance deficiencies impacting tenants.
The Balmoral Hotel
Earlier this year, the City ordered a full structural review of the building by a professional engineer. The City of Vancouver filed 60 charges against Balmoral Hotel Ltd., controlled by members of the Sahota family, in the B.C. Provincial Court alleging violations of the City’s Standards of Maintenance By-law. The defendants are due in court on December 12, for a first appearance on these charges. Further court dates will be set following the first appearance.
The building was vacated in June 2017 after it was determined to be unsafe to occupy due to risk of localized collapse. Shoring has been installed in the residential floors to ensure that the building is stable and secure and poses no public safety risk.
At this time, the City does not have information as to the expected timeline for completion of repairs to the residential floors. The City has provided standards to which the building must be renovated, which align with standards established for BC Housing SRO and other major SRO renovations.
The Regent Hotel
This year the City ordered a full structural review of the Regent Hotel by a professional engineer, due to concerns with the safety and condition of the building.
Based on the structural assessment, the City required repairs to damage caused by long-term leaking from the plumbing and building envelope. Temporary bracing and supports have been put in place to ensure the safety and stability of the building.
The City has also been monitoring the Regent to ensure compliance with Standards of Maintenance by-law requirements. Several outstanding violations are unresolved. As a result, in April 2017 the City filed 47 charges against Triville Enterprises Ltd. (controlled by members of the Sahota family) in the B.C. Provincial Court, alleging violations of the City’s Standards of Maintenance By-law. The defendants are due in Court on January 16, 2018, for a first appearance on these charges.
Another 21 charges under the Standards of Maintenance By-law and two charges under the Building By-law were filed in May 2017. The City is waiting for the court to set a first appearance date on these charges.
The City continues to inspect and identify additional Standards of Maintenance violations. During recent site inspections in September 2017, 426 Standards of Maintenance violations were identified, and have been referred to the City Prosecutor’s office for charge approval. In addition, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services has referred 67 Fire By-law violations for prosecution.
Work is underway by a certified contractor to address the building and standards of maintenance issues, but work is progressing slowly. The City is working with the owners and the contractor to establish a plan to address these violations at a faster rate while displacing a minimum of number of tenants from their current units.