Lawsuit of the week: City of North Vancouver takes owner of problem-plagued rooming house to court

Municipal government cites history of alleged bylaw violations and complaints to the police and fire department

A property at 462 East 11th Street in North Vancouver has been the subject of multiple complaints | North Shore News files

The City of North Vancouver is taking the owner of a rooming house property to court, claiming the home on the lands has been converted into several unpermitted living units while contravening numerous city bylaws.

In a petition filed in BC Supreme Court on May 2, the city claims Celein Goh’s property at 462 East 11th Street has been the subject of several neighbourhood complaints over the years. The city alleges that the home doesn’t have proper fire extinguishers, smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors, in breach of the municipal fire code.

Moreover, Goh allegedly carried out a host of unpermitted renovations, including plumbing and heating alterations to the home without permits while allowing “the accumulation of rubbish or noxious or unwholesome material to collect or accumulate around the Property.

According to the city’s petition, the home has been divided into 10 separate dwelling units that contain cooking facilities, despite city zoning bylaws capping the number of boarders for such property at two individuals. Goh’s unauthorized alterations to the home date back to 2007, the city claims. Since 2010, Goh has allegedly allowed the property to become a nuisance to neighbours by allowing the accumulation of “garbage, discarded furniture and bedding, plywood, tires, carpeting, and shopping carts” around the home.

Meanwhile, the home has had several complaints and calls to police and the city’s fire department over “assaults, drug related investigations, a sudden death, overdose calls, burning complaints, untidy/unsightly property complaints, parking complaints, zoning complaints and a drive-by shooting.”

“The City has demanded the Respondent cease the use of the property as a rooming house, but the respondent has not complied,” the petition states.

According to the latest assessment from the BC Assessment Authority, the land and buildings on the property are worth $1.84 million, though the home makes up just $32,900 of that total.

The City of North Vancouver seeks declarations that Goh is violating several city bylaws, and orders for her to cease using the home as a rooming house and for the tenants at the property to move out “until a final review is passed or a Certificate of Occupancy is issued by a Building Official under the Building Bylaw.”

The petition’s factual basis has not been tested in court and Goh had not filed a response by press time.