Lion Hotel's potential sale worries residents
Owner of Downtown Eastside building says he's looking to sell the property
Residents of the Lion Hotel in Vancouver, B.C.'s Downtown Eastside say they fear big rent increases if the building's owner follows through on a plan to sell the SRO.
Abol Abdollahi says he hasn't formally listed the building yet. But, he told CBC News that he's considering selling the Lion Hotel to finance renovations of another SRO he owns, the Clifton Hotel on Granville Street.
Abdollahi says a new owner could mean higher rents.
"He may increase the rent based on certain circumstances. He can only increase the rent for people, new people coming," he said.
Incoming tenants pay $450 per month for a single room at the Lion Hotel.
Resident Ron Kuehlke worries that a rent increase would keep more people on the streets.
"That's one of the largest things that we have a concern with ... it will end up pushing other people out. They don't have another out," said Kuehlke. "Where are they going to go?"
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Residents have reported problems at the building in recent months, most centring around a lack of heating for some tenants.
"You could have what you think is a great owner coming in," said Kuehlke. "We got rid of one who's not maintaining things. So this one starts maintaining things and getting things done but he wants payback on it."
Jean Swanson of the Carnegie Community Action Project says investors renovating low income private buildings and raising rent is a major problem.
"They're at risk of the owners booting out the low income tenants, upgrading them a tiny bit and charging really high rents. Anywhere from $650 to $1,500," she said.