Fire-hit highrise owner places ad asking tenants to pay rent

A file photo of Hay River's highrise in the summer of 2018
A file photo of Hay River's highrise in the summer of 2018. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

An advertisement taken out by highrise owner Harry Satdeo’s company in the April 3 edition of the Hay River Hub.

Two weeks after a fire at Hay River’s highrise displaced dozens of people, the building’s owner has finally made contact: he’s asking tenants who owe him rent “to please square up on their dues.”

Harry Satdeo, the building’s owner, made the request via an advertisement in the Hay River Hub newspaper on April 3.

“I sincerely regret the displacement and inconvenience the highrise fire has caused you and your families,” began what appeared to be Satdeo’s first direct statement to his tenants since the fire on March 15.



Tenants who want to terminate their lease may give written notice, the advertisement added, giving his company’s email address:

The request for tenants to pay their rent was due to “financial constraint,” according to the notice.

In March, the CBC quoted Hay River South MLA Wally Schumann suggesting Satdeo held no insurance on the building, adding the owner had asked the territorial government for help.

Satdeo did not address the rent responsibilities of tenants who do not wish to terminate their leases and will instead wait for the building to be repaired.



He said his company is hoping to “remedy the damage” within two months, but did not provide any details of the renovation plans.

The building has suffered smoke, fire, and water damage, including damage to key fire separators. It also has a broken alarm system, and any renovations must account for the possibility of asbestos within the structure.

At a March 17 meeting for displaced residents, Schumann said: “It’s a private landlord that owns this thing, so a lot of it is going to be dependent on how he handles this situation going forward.”

Cabin Radio has regularly and unsuccessfully attempted to contact Satdeo since the fire – most notably via Facebook Messenger, which indicates Satdeo has seen the messages but elected not to respond.