City of Vancouver orders Regent Hotel to 'correct deficiencies'
'I know I paid my rent for the heat and hot water and I don't have it.'
The City of Vancouver has ordered the 102-year-old Regent Hotel on East Hastings St. to "correct deficiencies immediately," after a CBC investigation revealed a lack of heat and water in the rundown hotel.
An order dated Dec. 17, 2015 from the City of Vancouver Property Use Inspector reads:
"The Inspections reveal that your building is still in contravention of Section 21.10 of the Standards of Maintenance By-law."
The order lists problems with the heating system, hot water supply and describes a door that does not close or latch properly, and said that those issues must be addressed immediately.
The order also said that if the deficiencies are not corrected on or before Feb. 15, 2016, the city may do the work at the Regent Hotel's expense.
The property has 69 outstanding inspection issues as of Jan. 2, 2016, according to the City of Vancouver website.
The city carried out the inspection after a CBC investigation checked out complaints that for months there had been lack of heat and hot water in the aging building.
To check their claims, the CBC went undercover — because tenants say hotel management can often ban visitors. Resident Jack Gates took us inside.
"Welcome to my home" said Gates as he unlocked the door to his tiny second floor room.
The sink in Jack Gates room had no running hot water, but he told CBC that he stayed in the single room occupancy hotel because the cheap accommodation is all he can afford on a disability pension.
He pays $475 in rent each month, most of that a taxpayer subsidy for housing.
"I know I paid my rent for the heat and hot water and I don't have it," said Gates.
He turned on his hot water tap to demonstrate. "I can leave this on for an hour and the hot water won't come on," he said.
His room also lacked heat, as the steam radiator was malfunctioning.
Hotel management ordered a missing part and gave Gates a small space heater in the meantime, but he says he can't use it because it blows the electrical circuits in his room.
CBC News took an electronic thermometer into his room, to measure the air temperature. At one point, it reached as low as 12 C.
"I haven't had heat in here since I moved in last year, in August," Gates said. "For me, it's pretty bad."
Activists with the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative claim a survey of Regent Hotel tenants found at least 30 of the more than 150 rooms are without heat and hot water.
Gates was the only resident willing to complain publicly.
"I don't like to speak for myself, but I know I'm speaking for a lot of people in here," he said. "They need someone to stand-up for them, too."
Calls to Trivelle Enterprises Ltd. and the Regent Hotel today by CBC were not answered.