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Owners of Downtown Eastside rooming houses facing hundreds of charges

The Balmoral Hotel in June, 2017. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130, Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Lawyers for the City of Vancouver continue to take legal action against the owners of two Downtown Eastside rooming houses, months after the Balmoral was shut down due to deteriorating conditions and structural instability.

The Balmoral has been empty since June when a structural review determined parts of the building were at risk of collapsing. 150 tenants were displaced.

Deputy City Manager Paul Mochrie says the first court appearance on 60 charges linked to the Balmoral was today.

“Given that we were also providing an update on enforcement against the Regent hotel, there are many charges that are proceeding against that building as well and we’re also waiting for charge approval on several hundred additional charges –both under the standards of maintenance by-law, as well as the fire by-law.”

Mochrie says it’s not clear when ongoing repairs will be completed,

“We understand that they are intending to repair that building, but we don’t have a timeline for completion. The city doesn’t actually have any ability to force them to renovate that building. It is a private building. There’s no legal tools that the city has to force those owners to renovate it.”

Homes have been found for everyone willing to accept help from city staff.

“All of those individuals that wanted alternative housing were placed into alternative housing,” says Mochrie.

As of September, more than 400 orders have been issued against the Sahota family, the owners of the Balmoral and the Regent.

January 16th is the date set for another appearance involving The Regent hotel, which has remained open while repairs are done.