The East Vancouver rooming house where three men died in a fire last year was safe, according to the property's owner.

Garland McKay, Dwayne Rasmussen and Stephen Yellowquill were killed in a blaze at the flophouse on Pandora Street in December 2010.

Landlord Choi Hon Leong, 70, told a coroner's inquest Tuesday that conditions at the home were acceptable.

"Every time I go there, it seemed to be clean," she said.

Leong said she wanted the low-income tenants out of the home so she could make repairs and collect higher rents, but she felt sorry for the men.

"My mistake is I have too soft a heart," she told the jury.

The fatal fire was blamed on a faulty electrical cord connected to a set of old Christmas lights. The inquest has heard that there were no working fire alarms in the home.

For years, the city had been ordering Leong to make repairs, but little was done despite threats of legal action.

During her testimony, Leong couldn't answer why she hadn't made any repairs in recent years.

Former Vancouver property inspections manager Carlene Robbins lost her job with the city after the fire.

She testified before the coroner's jury Tuesday, and told CTV News that the city couldn't shut down the home because there was no imminent threat to public safety and that the numerous violations were relatively common.

"I felt that we had done our best efforts to get compliance in this building and that we had been working trying to persuade the owner to comply and that we had been actively involved trying to get the building into compliance," Robbins said.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Brent Shearer