The City of Surrey has stepped up its ongoing fight against illegal building.
A new Illegal Construction Enforcement Team (ICET) has been launched to crack down on unpermitted residential construction in Surrey, the city announced Wednesday (April 27).
The team is comprised of three building officials, two bylaw officers, one clerk and a staff lawyer.
The move follows a recent update to bylaws that doubled fines (from $500 to $1,000) which can be issued daily for each infraction, including construction without a permit, ignoring a stop work order, preventing an inspection, and occupancy without a permit.
“Illegal construction threatens the safety and wellbeing of occupants, site workers and surrounding neighbourhoods,” stated Mayor Doug McCallum in a release. “In fact, illegal unpermitted construction is six times more likely to result in serious safety issues such as injury or death and can also cause dangerous environmental issues.”
In addition to charges and injunctions resulting in court action that could lead to fines up to $50,000 per offence, property owners are subject to deconstruction and removal costs of unauthorized structures, according to the City of Surrey.
Unpermitted construction could also jeopardize the future sale of the home and insurance companies may refuse to pay for claims resulting from problems associated with work that was performed illegally without proper inspections.
The City of Surrey says that in 2021, its bylaws department received more than 2,600 complaints relating to construction activities and the city issued more than 600 stop-work orders.
To file a complaint about construction you suspect has been done without permits, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-591-4370. Complaints can also be submitted online through the city’s “Report a Problem” application. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted.