More legislation needed to hold landlords accountable

October 17, 2007

Legislation that would enable municipalities to take over the administration of poorly run buildings at the landlord's expense could have prevented the disaster at 2131 Pandora, which left over 30 families homeless yesterday, said Shane Simpson, the MLA for Vancouver-Hastings.

Ultimately, I would like to see the city empowered to take over the administration of poorly run, chronically unsafe, and dangerous buildings at the landlord's expense, said Simpson, who has been working with local community groups to find solutions to problem landlords such as Paul Sahota, the owner of 2131 Pandora.

Negligent landlords, like Sahota, need to be held accountable for the state of their buildings and the safety of their tenants, and the costs resulting from landlord inaction must be billed back directly to them. Sahota was made aware months earlier that the roof at 2131 Pandora needed repairs -- he did nothing. We need to make sure that landlords like Sahota bear the cost of both the emergency evacuation and any hotel fees for tenants.

The Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance as well as BC Housing and the Provincial Emergency Program are working with the City of Vancouver to provide assistance to the displaced tenants at 2131 Pandora. Hopefully, they will be able to ensure the resident's needs are met. However it is important not to lose sight of the fact that this event could have been prevented had the city been empowered to take over the administration of this building.

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