SAN DIEGO — The occupants of a downtown hotel will be relocated due to allegedly "deplorable" conditions, including fire hazards and infestations of mold and rodents, the San Diego City Attorney's Office said Monday.
City prosecutors said the C Street Inn, a six-story hotel located between Sixth and Seventh avenues and built in 1913, is being vacated and its 72 occupants will receive nearly $5,000 each in relocation costs.
"All of this is unfair," said resident Neil Rico.
The hotel offered affordable housing in a city where rental prices are skyrocketing.
"The problem is this is a low income building so we have to find housing that will fit our limited incomes, our fixed-incomes," Rico said.
The City Attorney's Office says two inspections conducted earlier this year revealed mold and rodent infestations; a lack of fire/smoke alarms, sprinklers and extinguishers; unpermitted plumbing modifications; and electrical hazards.
"I've been here 10 years and I've never seen rodents," Rico said.
Additionally, the city alleges the hotel has been host to a wide range of criminal activity, prompting police to respond to the inn more than 190 times over the past three years.
CBS 8 called the property owner Jack Rafiq. He says he doesn't agree with all the city's claims.
"They're trying to get everybody out of the building by opposing something that is not true," Rafiq said. "I believe there is somebody behind this, a big developer to try to get into the area and make it a high-rise."
Rafiq has been ordered to pay a total of $339,840 in occupants' relocation costs, as well as remedy the health and safety violations.
He appealed the city's order to pay the relocation costs, the City Attorney's Office says. The city plans to hold a hearing with Rafiq to recover the money.
"Dozens of people were living in dangerous conditions in this squalid century-old building," San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. "All the occupants will be relocated to safe and clean housing, and we will ensure the property owner is held accountable."
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