West Hotel

West Hotel - the building view from outside

In late 2014, the West had new owners and we heard that it was getting worse for the  125 tenants. We door-knocked the building and found Dan, a tenant who was taking his landlord to housing court for illegal guest fees, no hot water, illegal evictions, and more.

We met with City inspectors and together with the tenants managed to bring in new management – a Christian charity called Community Builders. It was a big victory, but soon found out that conditions got even worse.

WEST visitors

In January 2015, the staffing model changed suddenly. There was no 24-hour security so anyone could access the building throughout the night. At this time, there were 30-40 people in the building hanging out and sleeping in the hallways and bathrooms every night. People were climbing up the fire escape as well.

Garbage collected…

WEST GARBAGE

The bathrooms were not usable…

WEST bathtubs

Pests infested the building…

West rats

Violent incidences occurred regularly…

WEST machete marks

What did we do?

West Hotel volunteers get ready to go door to door

We took the lead from Dan, a self-taught legal beagle who lives there.  While Dan collected tons of evidence of problems and initiated dozens of complaints to the city and the Residential Tenancy Branch, about a dozen volunteers went door to door to gather requests for repairs. Dan passed these onto the management and the city but there was still no change.

Tenants were barely holding on and we finally got a meeting lined up with the head of the City’s inspection department.

Then a DOUBLE HOMICIDE happened.

West murders

We wrote a media release in the middle of the night and by the morning, every media outlet was there reporting on the conditions.  

West murders 2

Double homicide media links

Things got a little better, but we didn’t stop organizing. With Dan’s leadership, the Collaborative helped 94 tenants launch the largest case in RTB history.

We filed for a $70,000 compensation for:

  • 108 DAYS NO ELEVATOR
  • 53 DAYS NO HOT WATER
  • 74 DAYS NO 24-7 FRONT DESK STAFF

Dan put together an 800 page evidence package.

Dan with hearing packages

Largest RTB case media links

SRO Collaborative volunteers helped tenants:

  • fill out RTB applications & gathered proof of incomes so tenants didn’t have to pay for filing fees
  • organize a big media event
  • collect 60 written statements from the tenants
  • help get legal representation (at the last minute before the first hearing)
  • strategize and we did a lot of photocopying

We’ll let you know in a few months how the hearing goes.

can you hear us now

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