UPDATE (Dec.2, 2015): The city of Vancouver says heat and hot water have been fully restored to the Lion Hotel on the Downtown Eastside, but people living there say that isn’t the case.
The city put pressure on the landlord of the single room occupancy hotel this weekend after some residents had been without both services for nearly three weeks.
City officials announced the problem had been fixed, but some people who live there are speaking out saying they are still without heat.
The city does say a plumber will be back on site today to do more work.
Vic Dickinson is one of several tenants at the 70 room Lion Hotel who have only small space heaters to keep warm during the cold snap.
“We have no windows, no heat, it’s blown cold. We haven’t been able to shower for three weeks. It’s the most disgusting place I’ve ever seen,” he says.
Dickinson and his roommate pay $800 a month for their tiny room in the single room occupancy hotel at Powell and Gore. It’s a step away from homelessness, but they still feel like they’re living on the streets.
“It’s been down to minus five at night with no hot water,” says Dickinson.
“Our toilets overflow, our sinks overflow. I’ve never seen a place worse than this.”
Earlier this week the city ordered the hotel’s owner to restore the heat and hot water within 60 days, or it will move in and bill the owner.
“This is a fix that could be done without having to vacate anybody and come January 26th the city will be on site, with a contractor and ready to do the work,” says Andreea Toma, City of Vancouver Chief Licence Inspector.
The Lion Hotel is owned by a numbered company. But its director is Abol Abdollahi, manager of the Clifton Hotel – another building accused of engaging in renoviction tactics in 2014 and 2015.
In 2013, the Clifton was the second worst property on the city’s rental database with 105 violations; its tenants slowly kicked out for renovations.
Global News attempted to reach Abdollahi at his listed home – a West Vancouver home on the market for $2.1 million – and at the Lion Hotel, but were unable to contact him.
His tenants, meanwhile, are left to battle the elements amidst growing frustration.
“We don’t have nobody to help us,” says Dickinson.
“I hope to god that things get better.”