A lawsuit filed today (August 29) describes deplorable conditions at one of the Downtown Eastside’s shabby hotels.
The legal action, an application for a class-action lawsuit that could involve many or even all of the building’s tenants, concerns the Regent Hotel, which stands near the southwest corner of Main and East Hastings streets. It targets four members of the Sahota family, well known for owning and operating several low-income hotels throughout the Downtown Eastside.
The four family members are Kirin Sahota, Gurdyal Sahota, Pal Sahota, and Parkash Sahota.
A long list of grievances is detailed in the applicant's notice of claim. They include a lack of heat, lack of hot water, leaking roof, crumbling façade, rat infestation, broken elevator, and impassable fire escape, among other problems.
“There are serious health and safety issues resulting from the Sahotas' failure to maintain the Regent,” the notice of claim reads.
“The Sahotas have consistently ignored serious infractions of the Standards of Maintenance Bylaw and have consistently ignored the few orders sporadically made by the City of Vancouver.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court. The defendants have not yet had an opportunity to respond to the applicants’ notice of claim.
Also named in the lawsuit are Sahotacorp, Triville Enterprises Ltd., and Yang-myung Hotel Management Ltd., the last two of which are described as entities involved in day-to-day operations at the Regent, as well as the City of Vancouver, which is accused of failing to enforce work orders related to maintenance at the Regent.
“The City of Vancouver is fully aware of all of the health and safety issues at the Regent and has been aware of those issues from their inception,” it reads. “While the City of Vancouver has issued work orders in relation to some of these issues, the City of Vancouver has chosen not to meaningfully enforce the work orders and chooses to ignore the majority of the health and safety issues."
The applicant named is Jerald Jack Gates, a tenant who has lived on the second floor of the Regent since September 2014. He is represented by Jason Gratl, a lawyer who over the years has been involved in several high-profile cases related to social-justice issues playing out in the Downtown Eastside.