Low-income Clifton Hotel residents face evictions
Shawn Thorpe, 44, tenant at the hotel looks down at a cracked shower stall held together by duct tape at the Clifton Hotel on Granville St. in Vancouver, B.C. on Thursday May 8, 2014. The owner of the building has being evicted All tenants from SRO hotel for renovations. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
All 45 tenants of a Vancouver hotel that sits atop the city's registry of “buildings with health or safety issues” have been given eviction notices.
The Clifton Hotel, 1125 Granville St., is cited for 59 unaddressed violations, including “excessive” storage of combustibles, fire alarm problems, blocked emergency exits, faulty wiring and more.
Now, its low-income tenants will have to find new homes as of June 30 — but once the building is fully renovated, rents will be raised the owner told 24 hours.
“What do you expect? I'm not a charity,” said Abolghasem Abdollahi, who said extensive renovations will cost $4 million. “Of course the rents should go higher to support my expenses, interest and the mortgage.”
For four-year hotel resident Shawn Thorpe, 44, the move will pose a challenge to more senior residents, many of whom have mental health challenges.
“It's just become a nightmare,” he told 24 hours. “Now the landlord says since it's so bad for the tenants he'll just evict us.”
Carli Edwards, the city's assistant deputy of inspections, who authored a 2013 report on the hotel, told 24 hours there is simply no excuse to evict the tenants.
“It's our position that the repair work they have to do does not require eviction of the tenants, and the owner told us in the fall they would not be evicting the tenants,” said Edwards. “The owner needs to do a lot of work on these buildings, while maintaining their tenants.”
She also disputed Abdollahi's argument that the structural repairs and asbestos removal make it unsafe to inhabit, because renovations can be “sealed off.”
The fire department and building inspectors would not comment on the matter, saying the city is addressing the hotel's issues.
Last summer, Clifton residents, including Thorpe, faced off against Abdollahi and his estranged business partner at a city council meeting over the future of the building.