Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Arrest Warrants issued for Vancouver Slumlord

VANCOUVER -- A legal group that advocates for Vancouver's poorest residents has taken the rare step of securing 10 arrest warrants for George Wolsey, a notorious landlord in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

He owes more than $18,000 to residents for unlivable conditions. Pivot Legal Society says Wolsey's former tenants endured rampant infestations and serious risks to health and safety while living in one of his single-room-occupancy hotels in the Downtown Eastside.
Lawyer Doug King says those tenants were awarded damages by the Residential Tenancy Branch this spring, but Wolsey has made no effort to pay up, has failed to appear at court dates and has refused service of documents. Pivot says a judge issued warrants Tuesday for Wolsey's arrest after he once again failed to appear.

Pivot will hold a press conference today to detail the more than three-year battle between Wolsey and tenants. King says former residents will be at the press conference to detail their experiences, and Pivot lawyers will talk about next steps, including unveiling a Wolsey "wanted poster."


On Friday, August 19, 2011 ...

Former tenants at a derelict hotel in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside said they were forced to buy their landlord's methadone – or face eviction. Twelve of the residents are attending a public hearing at the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch Thursday about threats and abuses they claim they faced while living at the Wonder Rooms at 50-52 East Cordova St. and Palace Hotel at 35 West Hastings St. Both are Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels.

They allege that the landlord, George Wolsey, abused his power and would evict tenants without just cause. Wolsey is also facing two city investigations into the condition of the buildings. "It's a pretty unique situation," said King. "We have never had a SRO hotel run by a pharmacist."

Both buildings are at the centre of a city of Vancouver investigation into bylaw infractions, and have been served with more than 20 compliance orders since 2010.

City inspectors found evidence of bedbugs, roaches and rats in many residential suites. In one inspection report, a staff member wrote: "The entire basement and first floor are littered with rat feces and smell very strongly of rat urine."