The Province: Surrey landlord slapped with $115,000 penalty

Rotting walls, a collapsed ceiling and decayed deck railings at a Surrey residential building have earned a notorious B.C. land-lord the first administrative penalty under the Residential Tenancy Act.

Gurdyal Singh Sahota and his company, Waterford Developments, have been handed a $115,000 penalty for deliberately failing to abide by a May 2011 agreement to address a chronically unattended leaking roof that affected up to six units at Kwantlen Park Manor in North Surrey.

The penalty includes a maximum one-time fine of $5,000, plus $500 for each of the 220 days of non-compliance since a June 2011 deadline.

Sue Collard, a one-time building manager at Kwantlen Park, still lives in the dilapidated three-storey building and said Tuesday's penalty "was warranted." 

 

"Our building has been subject to deteriorating conditions over the past two years," said Collard, who is also the Whalley chairwoman for the low-income advocacy group Acorn.

But Collard remains skeptical about whether repair work to the building - which houses 31 suites and nearly 40 occupants - will ever get done now that Sahota has been saddled with the penalty.

Many of the building's suites languish empty, "which again, I gather, is quite characteristic of Sahota buildings," said Collard.

Sahota's family owns several problem buildings in Metro Vancouver, most notably the single-occupancy Pandora hotel in the Downtown Eastside and a Mount Pleasant complex that went through years of negative city inspections.

In 2007, the Pandora's roof collapsed, with 36 former tenants awarded a $170,000 settlement after they were ordered out of the unsafe structure.

Collard said advocates at Acorn compared Kwantlen Park's condition with that of the Pandora two years before its roof collapsed.

Rich Coleman, the B.C. minister responsible for housing, said administrative penalties are only considered for "serious, deliberate contraventions of the act."

"It should send a message to these landlords - and there's not many of them - who decide they're going to flout certain responsibilities they have to their tenancy agreement with these tenants," Coleman said Tuesday.

Original article available at: http://www.theprovince.com/news/Surrey+landlord+slapped+with+penalty/6334958/story.html