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Surrey Moves to Protect Rental Standards

Surrey City Hall Council Chambers

May 29, 2012

Surrey – The City has endorsed a new by-law which will help protect the condition of rental properties in Surrey and provide a better dispute resolution process to deal with unsafe accommodation.

The City will also be requesting the Provincial Government provide sufficient funding to Surrey and other local governments to undertake the work associated with standards of maintenance by-laws. Currently, such responsibility is the mandate of the Residential Tenancy Branch, but due to insufficient funding, local governments have been taking on the responsibility.

“Unfortunately, we have renters who are living in unhealthy and unsafe housing conditions because landlords are not properly maintaining their buildings, and that is completely unacceptable,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. “The current dispute resolution process is not effective, so we want to work with the Residential Tenancy Branch to better protect and maintain affordable housing in our city.”

The proposed by-law will address issues relating to the provision of water, heat, light, basic utilities and elevator service, as well as provide the City with a tool for responding to tenant complaints.

“The responsibility for ensuring rental housing stock is properly maintained lies with the Province, but there are many cases where landlords are not doing repairs, or it’s taking an unreasonable amount of time to fix the unsafe conditions,” says Councillor Judy Villeneuve, Chair of the Social Planning Advisory Committee. “We’ve consulted with the Residential Tenancy Branch and community stakeholders, and we feel this by-law will help us work together to improve conditions and ensure landlords are providing safe accommodation.”

On May 10, 2012, the Lower Mainland Local Government Association unanimously passed the City of Surrey's resolution calling on the Provincial Government to amend the Residential Tenancy Act and enforce decisions related to the upkeep of rental tenancies within a reasonable timeframe. The resolution will now be forwarded to the UBCM for consideration at the annual Convention in September.

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Media Contact:

Tara Foslien
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor