The City of Vancouver will be taking an apartment owner to court after discovering suites in the building have been occupied for months despite not having an occupancy permit or business licence.
City hall got wind of the illegal occupancy at 3683 East Hastings St. in May. The building had been damaged by fire some years prior and was supposed to be vacant. Inspectors, however, were surprised to find 60 suites occupied, despite blatant health and safety violations. The building had no functioning sprinklers or fire extinguishers and had wiring problems. It also had broken locks and toilets flushing with hot water.
“They certainly didn’t have all the life-safety systems in place before they moved people in, so we had to take immediate action to ensure the safety of these tenants,” Carli Edwards, the city’s deputy chief building official told 24 hours. “The building owner has been co-operating with us in the last few months.”
Tenant Kirstie Rapley has endured the substandard living conditions since moving in last February.
“How could a landlord continue to collect rent in a building that’s unsafe and illegal to live in?” she said in an email.
Edwards said the building is now safe. The owner has until Friday to address the remaining violations, including issues with insulation, door hardware and wall finishings. The city is gathering evidence and will be taking the owner, a numbered company with an address on Homer Street, to provincial court over numerous bylaw violations, each of which could yield a $10,000 fine.
Article by Luke Brocki for 24hrs Vancouver