Hotel California at risk of shutting down due to code violations


A Fresno Hotel operating as an apartment complex near Roeding Park may soon be shutdown. City officials say there are several code violations at Hotel California, including lack of central heat, roaches and mold.

The man running the hotel says he took over ownership last year and although several people are complaining about the living conditions, he doesn't see a problem with what he's doing. But the city does and says they will be shutting it down.

Antoinette Castañeda and her fiancee have lived in a room at Hotel California for five months but say it's not being operated like a traditional hotel.

"That's been my question the whole time. Is this a hotel or an apartment complex? Cause if it's a hotel but we have to pay for toilet paper, we get no clean linen. We buy our own linen, our own towels. If it's an apartment complex, the rate is way too high," Michael Baldwin said.

Each resident pays between $175 and $250 a week. People living there say they pay extra for things like space heaters and refrigerators because there's no central heat. According to Fresno City Manager Bruce Rudd, the bigger issue is the owner operating the property illegally.  

"This particular owner has not paid any business tax or any transient taxes cause if it's a hotel he has to pay transient taxes, he hasn't paid any business taxes. It isn't registered with the city of Fresno and is quite possible operating a facility illegally," Rudd said.

Adding that the challenge is, while they deal with all the code violations, they still have dozens of people who need a place to stay. The same reason the owner says he allows people to stay longer than 28 days.

Dushyand Sharmhar said "Some people stay here, they're old person, some have cancer, they're sick people. How can I trouble to the old person."
Fresno Code Enforcement officers were at the property a few weeks ago and found several violations. Now the city plans to close the hotel but not before helping the residents find a home. "There's a number of issues that need to be addressed and it will probably end up in legal action taken by the city," Rudd said.

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