rogue north vancouver hostel operator found to be in contempt of court

Rogue North Vancouver hostel operator found to be in contempt of court

Canada

The owner of a North Vancouver townhouse, who has been operating the home as an illegal hostel, has been slapped with new fines and could face more punishment down the road.

Emily Yu has been marketing the 14-bed operation as the “Oasis Hostel” over the objections of her neighbours.

Last year, her strata corporation won a Civil Resolution Tribunal ruling against the operation, which was later upheld by the B.C. Supreme Court.

READ MORE: North Vancouver strata seeks contempt of court ruling against townhouse-turned-hostel owner

On Wednesday, the strata won another Supreme Court victory, this time finding Yu in contempt of court for ignoring those previous rulings.

WATCH: Scofflaw North Vancouver townhouse owner targeted by strata corporation

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In his ruling, Justice Barry M. Davies found Yu had ignored previous court rulings and had failed to pay fines previously assessed to her. He also found that she had admitted to operating the facility illegally.

“How am I going to pay?” Yu responded in court, to which Justice Davies replied: “That’s my ruling.”

Yu has been ordered to pay $4,000 more in strata and bylaw fines as well as cover her strata corporation’s legal fees associated with the contempt case.

READ MORE: Hostel takeover: owner flouts short-term rental laws, rents out 15 beds in North Shore townhouse

The price tag on those court costs is still pending a registrar’s assessment of what is “reasonable” but could top $15,000.

Yu will also face an additional punishment for being found in contempt of court. However, the severity of that punishment will depend on Yu’s actions in the months to come, Davies said.

In court, the justice asked Yu if she intended to continue to operate her hostel — Yu said no.

Globalnews.ca coverage of Oasis Hostel

Davies said the court would reconvene in four months to assess her final punishment.

In that time, he said Yu will be monitored to ensure that she does, in fact, cease renting the property. Davies implied that if she fails to do so, she could face much more than just a fine.

READ MORE: Illegal North Vancouver hostel remains open as deadline passes

“I think the judge wanted to ensure that Ms. Yu understood that the court is going to be watching her over the next four months,” said Steve Hamilton, legal counsel for the strata corporation.

“If Ms. Yu complies with the court’s order, then I expect the judge will take that into account. However, if she doesn’t comply with the court’s order then as the judge said (Wednesday) in court, he’ll decide what the appropriate sentence will be.”

However, Yu’s neighbours aren’t convinced that Wednesday’s ruling will be the end of the story.

“I’m not totally confident because she also said that at the Civil Resolution Tribunal, that was part of that — that she would comply with their decision — and she didn’t,” said neighbour Maria Shawcross.

Some neighbours have claimed that forcing Yu to sell her property might be the only way to prevent her from violating court orders.

Yu has previously insisted that she is exempt from the court rulings because renting out her townhouse for short-term accommodations is a grandfathered right. She now also denies that her townhouse was ever a hostel, despite the term being used several times on her website.

The strata’s legal team added that if it does find that Yu has violated the ruling at any point in the next four months, it can take the case back to the B.C. Supreme Court early and attempt to push for tougher penalties.

Yu is also facing challenges from the City of North Vancouver, which claims she is in violation of municipal bylaws. Yu has disputed all of the city’s claims.