Residents of Hotel California in Central Fresno asked to leave after city red tags building

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All 49 doors at the Hotel California were tagged Thursday morning by code enforcement, leaving tenants scrambling and desperate to find a new place to stay. (KFSN)

All 49 doors at the Hotel California were tagged Thursday morning by code enforcement, leaving tenants scrambling and desperate to find a new place to stay.

"I can't afford any other place to stay with my income. I'm by myself, so it's hard to do it. Just hopefully I find a place and God helps me," said Cheryl Your, resident.

Hotel California is one of the few places that rents to those with no credit, prior evictions, and unreliable income sources. Small rooms are available by week or month.

Thursday, the abrupt news was made worse for residents after motel workers began immediately removing all appliances in their rooms due to a potential breaker overload and fire hazard.

"They want to move our refrigerators out, microwaves, lights, and all that-- so what are we going to do? Just sit in the dark? We have over $200 worth of food in our refrigerator and freezer that we have bought, that we have nowhere to put," said Antoinette Castaneda, resident.

Some residents blamed the city and its new administration for suddenly cracking down on problems that have persisted for years.

One tenant said to a city worker, "So the city is just saying then forget us then, right?"

City worker, "No, no that's not."

Tenant, "That's what's happening. They can't just take my food man, we living off that stuff.

City worker, "The city is trying to keep you safe. That's why we have the fire watch here.

Tenant, "If the city is trying to keep us safe they would've done this a long time ago. We've been here six months, ain't no fire started yet."


The owner of the motel, Dushyant Sharm, made his rounds too, promising to refund residents money they already paid. He said he was also ripped off when he bought the motel 15 months ago assuming it was up to code.

"Last owner, they never took the permit for boiler, heating system, and electric system. So therefore the city closed the whole thing."

We asked the owner is he bought it as is and Sharm responded by saying, "Yes but they never told me anything. They never disclose anything."

The motel owner said city workers first had a problem with heating, but once he provided a heating system for occupied units, the breakers were overloaded. Now Code Enforcement said the motel needs new roofing and has mold.

Late Thursday, Mayor Lee Brand held a press conference saying he has a task force working to find residents other options and places to live but ultimately it's the motel owner's responsibility.

"But the city is not going to turn a blind eye to this. We're looking at it too. We have compassion for the people that live their too."

The last time a Fresno motel was red tagged by the city was four years ago.

Residents said Thursday's action was not an emergency.

City leaders said they have a list of other places that are also in violation and not operating under the proper permits.

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