Letter: Bring on bigger fines

A $1,000 fine isn’t enough to stop illegal secondary suites in Surrey, where crafty landlords are skirting around the rules.

Re: “Close the Loopholes,” April 8

I agree with Mike Bola’s stance on the fines for illegal multiple suites and how they should be raised up to $5,000, especially for repeat offenders.

For years now I have been unlucky enough to live near a multiple-suite property – a coach home and basement suite which only has three parking spots. The owner was finally caught and fined in November, 2013.

This was after years and years of the owner removing stoves [before the bylaw enforcement officer visited]and somehow getting away with it all.

The owner was fined $1,000 and finally rules were enforced. [It] only took three years of complaints. Tenants have been evicted before by bylaw enforcement officers.

So people’s lives are being messed with all because this owner thinks she is above the city’s bylaws.

Fast forward to February of this year. There are once again people in the basement suite as well as the coach home. An email to the bylaw manager was sent, bylaw enforcement officers attended and once again it is the loophole that there is no cooking equipment in the basement, so therefore there is no suite.

This owner is collecting rent from the coach home and basement… two separate dwelling suites, units, mini apartments… whatever you want to call them and the city is unwilling to do anything because the stove is removed when they visit. Give me a break.

Why would someone pay hundreds of dollars to rent a place and they cannot cook food!? At least charge her property taxes with multiple suite fees as these people are still using city services – water, utilities, parking, trash etc. And her tenant who lives on the main floor thinks it is okay to harass people when they are the ones in the wrong.

Why not? They clearly think they are entitled to break the laws and continue to get away with it. A $1,000 fine was not enough to make it stop.

Bring on the $5,000 fines for multiple suites!

 

Crystal Litonjua

Surrey