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Lender seeks foreclosure on two rental properties owned by Vancouver’s Sahota family

A lender has filed foreclosure proceedings on two rental properties owned by a Vancouver family renowned as problem landlords, putting more pressure on a group of aging siblings who are already facing hundreds of charges from the city over the decrepit state of their buildings.

The buildings are owned by companies controlled by members of the Sahota family.

The foreclosures also indicate potential financial strain in the Sahota family's property empire, which was built over the past four decades by family members – including Parkash Sahota and her brothers, Pal and Gurdyal Sahota – and includes apartments as well as single-room occupancy hotels in the city's Downtown Eastside.

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Pal Sahota did not immediately return a request for comment.

Tenants at the rental buildings – two, three-storey apartment complexes on the city's east side, one at 2178 Triumph St. and the other at 525 East 5th Ave. – received notices last week that mortgages on the buildings were in default and that their rents should be paid to management companies for the lenders.

"The mortgage is in default and a foreclosure proceeding has been commenced," the notice to tenants for the East 5th Ave. property says, adding that rents are being collected by an agent "effective immediately."

Peoples Trust Company is the lender for both buildings, documents state.

According to property records, the Triumph Street building is owned by a numbered company that lists its directors as Gurdyal Sahota and Pal Sahota.

The three-storey apartment building at East 5th is owned by Prang Holdings, which lists its director as Gurdyal Sahota, and was bought by the family in 1997 for $1.77-million. The building, which has more than a dozen units, was recently assessed at $9.65-million.

The family bought the block-long complex on East 5th in 1976. At the time, with the apartments bordering a gritty industrial area to the east of False Creek, the property cost $810,000.

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Now, it neighbours the gleaming new campus of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design and was recently assessed at $33-million.

The Sahota family has a lengthy track record of bylaw violations and maintenance problems.

This past June, city officials ordered one of the Sahota's buildings, the Balmoral Hotel, closed over safety concerns.

Inspections found fire and structural problems with the building, a nine-storey property constructed in 1912.

The city, provincial housing agency B.C. Housing and non-profit groups scrambled to find new accommodation for more than 100 people who had been living at the Balmoral.

In 2017, the city filed dozens of charges against the companies that own the Balmoral and Regent hotels for bylaw violations, citing "significant safety risks and maintenance deficiencies impacting tenants." Those legal proceedings continue.

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Ken Wong, a long-time tenant at the East 5th apartment, said Tuesday he was not worried by the foreclosure, as any changes – such as a possible sale of the building – could take months.

"If they sell it to a developer, that [development] would have to go through the city and that would take a long time," Mr. Wong said.

With a report from Stephanie Chambers

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